Justin Yates and Matt Williams, JamVans' directors, were delighted to be asked back to Longdean School to present the prizes at the Senior Presentation Evening. Not only giving out prizes they also delivered an inspiring speech illustrating some of the characteristics they developed that have helped their business success story.
Having followed the growth and success of JamVans, the Headteacher of Longdean School, Mr Graham Cunningham, contacted Matt and Justin, asking if they would return to the school to present the prizes at the annual Senior Presentation Evening that takes place in December. They were humbled to be welcomed back for the event, 8 years after they had left school, and felt they had a duty to deliver a great speech with the right message to the current pupils.
They gave an inpiring speech about their time at Longdean and how this helped them shape their careers, and how they have grown from two guys and a van to employing nearly 40 people and carrying out moves around the UK and across the world.
Justin and Matt met at Longdean School and became friends when they were both Economics and Business students. During their time there they decided that instead of going to university to learn more about the theory of business, they would just dive right in the practical experience. With little money they looked for an industry with a low budget entry point. A removals company only required a van and a little manpower and so JamVans was born.
Along the way they were given some valuable business insight from Sir Richard Branson, who told them he had found success by finding under-performing industry segments and shaking them up with innovation and great customer experience. The removals industry was old fashioned, typically run by older men wary of new technology. The time was right for JamVans to disrupt the status quo.
In 2016 Matt and Justin were awarded the Young Entrepreneur of the Year in the Hertfordshire Business Awards.
The early days of JamVans was a steep learning curve but any mistakes made along the way have served to make the business even stronger. They told the students “Whether it’s school, work, business or just life in general, you will always make mistakes, but there are three things we have always sworn by; Admit it, learn from it and don’t repeat it.”
Matt also encouraged the students to step outside their comfort zone to get the best out of themselves. “Rather than stressing and bench-marking yourself against others, keep your head down, focus on your aspirations and you will start to form your own ideas and achieve what you want. You might just be surprised at what you can do when you step out of your comfort zone.”
During the presentation evening Matt and Justin personally handed out over 150 awards including subject awards, trophies for Performing Arts, Sport, Music and Maths as well as presenting last year’s Year 13 students with their A Level certificates. After the speech and prize-giving there was time to talk to the pupils and their parents and catch up with the teachers, many of whom had taught Justin and Matt.