Rocketeer Enterprise is an IOEE Enterprise Academy on a mission – to change the world, one entrepreneur at a time. Rocketeer specialises in understanding how to benefit from being in the midst of the current digital and technology revolution, through supporting educational organisations, start-up companies, and wannabe entrepreneurs to succeed in the field of enterprise. This month we met CEO Richard Wood, who is dedicated to delivering high quality content for enterprise courses and start-up training programmes, to enable entrepreneurs to learn how to launch, grow and scale a business in today’s fast-moving digital world.
Having created courses since 2014, Rocketeer relaunched its refined and retuned programmes last year, at a time where Richard says that entrepreneurial skills are especially important:
“2016 saw some big changes take place in the UK; most notably, the decision to leave the European Union. Whatever your political stance may be, these decisions will impact how the UK does business with the world, and the need for entrepreneurial skills may be required now more than ever before.”
Rocketeer Enterprise specialises in cloud-based courses and start-up incubator programmes, so that students and learners who are keen to be enterprising can access the right information and knowledge to help them succeed.
Rocketeer initially started by developing strong relationships with the Prison Education Trust (PET). Its courses and programmes are now being run in over 10 prisons across the UK, and are on the curriculum at the women’s prison, HMP Drake Hall. Richard says:
“What sets us apart is our focus on the importance of digital technology. Yes, we’re about enterprise and entrepreneurship, but this is underpinned by the way the digital and technology world is evolving. It’s at the core of everything we do, and we work with market leaders all around the globe. We ensure that we’re at the forefront of digital evolution; this is the key to success.”
Richard began his professional career in teaching - first at a primary school, and then a secondary school - before going on to become a Head Teacher at a private school for young offenders. In 2007 he began his first entrepreneurial venture in the field of education by setting up after-school activities for children, and he says that the experience taught him his first big lesson in entrepreneurship:
“I set up and invested in running martial arts classes for children, and expanded it far too quickly. Essentially, I tried to do too much too soon, without understanding the intricacies of each business model before progressing to the next. I went bankrupt, and had to start again from scratch, but sometimes failure is your biggest teacher – you have to be prepared to fall off your bike in order to find your balance.”
Richard’s career then took an unexpected turn through an opportunity in filmmaking, and he spent several years working as a producer, travelling all over the world:
“Whilst we made and promoted these films, I became fascinated by watching how the digital and tech world was constantly changing the process. When I returned to the UK, it was time to change. My values didn’t align with that of the movie industry’s, and I knew I wanted to help people. I was armed with only my laptop in a coffee shop when I thought ‘okay, this is everything I need, I’m just going to go for it’.”
It is this combination of ambition and strong work ethics that still drives Richard today:
“Opportunity is everywhere. You just have to look for it. I think of business like an iceberg – what you see is just the top bit, but once you delve into the water, the biggest and most important part is underneath the surface.”
Richard says that it is richly rewarding to see the personal effects Rocketeer’s courses has on people, as well as the professional development, such as with the female inmates at Drake Hall Prison:
“As well as equipping the women with the relevant skills, our courses also help to build their self-esteem. Inmates know that once they’re released, finding a job with a criminal record can be a difficult and daunting prospect. Seeing how these courses can provide a realistic alternative and help build a person’s confidence makes it even more worthwhile.”
“We are very excited to have now added to our programme of courses our Startup Incubator Programme, and are now working with our second group of eight female inmates, who not only want academic knowledge, but who are applying this knowledge directly to starting a business ready for their release. We teach them the practical steps of setting up and running a real business, working through their mission statements and values, business models, web presence, branding, and - most importantly - how they will effectively market and sell through utilising online digital opportunities.”
“We are at our most exciting phase and are expanding our recently launched incubator directly into education - schools, sixth forms, colleges and universities - to help the students of today prepare for navigating through the uncertain future of tomorrow.”
As the links with the IOEE continue to grow and strengthen, Richard says why this is so important to Rocketeer Enterprise:
“Being an IOEE Academy adds enormous credibility to our offering, but it has also shown us that what we’re doing really matters and is being recognised. Looking to the future, further developing Rocketeer in education is incredibly exciting. We have the opportunity to show people that they can take control of their own destinies and change their lives – and nothing could be more exciting than that.”
Click here to find out more about IOEE Enterprise Academy, Rocketeer Enterprise.