Former convict turned entrepreneur becomes Enterprise UK ambassador
Duane Jackson, a successful London-based entrepreneur with his own ┬ú10m software firm, speaks out about how an underprivileged background should never become a barrier to success.
Jailed in 2000 for drug-trafficking crimes when he was 21, Duane spent two-and-a-half years in prison for his offences. Upon his release he then started working as a self-employed web designer, helped by the Princes Trust.
Having struggled to find a simple accounting software, Duane designed his own, called KashFlow, which soon became the backbone of his business and which he now sells to small businesses.
The product has proved to be an enormous success, and has led to the creation of KashFlow Software – a ┬ú10m company based in London with 14 staff.
Speaking on his blog, Duane says:
“No one was interested in helping me, and I can’t blame them really. There was only one organisation that was willing to give me the time of day: The Prince’s Trust.”
Duane grew up in care and left school without any qualifications, but despite his lack of further education and family support, he believes this along with his time in prison has led to his current business success. He now speaks in schools about his experiences and last week took part in Enterprise UK’s Global Entrepreneurship Week.
Speaking to TheBusinessDesk, he said:
“I’m from an underprivileged background and I didn’t see starting a business as an option. My role is to make people who are in that situation realise that it is a viable option.
“I tell people how I started. I went out and did it, I didn’t worry about qualifications and funding. Rather than just thinking about it you’ve got to do something. Actions are much more important than ideas.”
Now an ambassador for Enterprise UK, Duane hasn’t forgotten his roots. He says: “I can honestly say that KashFlow wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the Prince’s Trust.”
Visit www.kashflow.co.uk for more details of KashFlow’s accounting systems for UK businesses.