As the UK unemployment rate grew to 4.1 per cent with 156,000 fewer young people in work aged between 16 and 24 according to the figures from Office for National Statistics.
One 24-year-old is bucking the trend. Just two years after graduating from Bradford University Omar Bahadur is now the CEO of his own company, setting up Faraday Drinks.
Growing up in a business orientated environment, with his grandfather, father, and uncles in the property sector, Omar decided to take a different route going to Bradford University to study Mechanical Engineering.
Omar believes it is because of his upbringing and the support here in Bradford that he now owns his own business.
‘Bradford is a city very close to my heart, the same for the University, anyone can become anything if they put their mind to it. It’s a brilliant city to help a start-up company, with low costs and great support from the community’
It was his mechanical engineering degree that has allowed Omar to deal with the challenges of setting up his company. It helped him focus on the product, with his keen eye for solving the problems when it came to the recipe or the product design.
However, it hasn’t been plain sailing for Omar in getting his company off the ground. Like many young people setting out in the world of industry and commerce Omar too faced challenges. His first job was working as a car salesman, which is so far away from his aims and even mechanical engineering, before going through two other jobs to help fund his ambition. All the while spending his evenings and weekends investing every penny he earnt working on his product. During which time he travelled to and from the laboratory, perfecting his recipe and making the necessary research and design tweaks after feedback from samplers, before managing to go full time in 2019 with Faraday.
Setting up the company in 2018 has come with its own challenges and to go into a market that in 2017 was worth more than £2 billion, was even bigger. But then the Coronavirus pandemic hit, and many companies have struggled, but Omar says it has helped him revaluate the company before launch.
‘The pandemic has been terrible for the world and on a personal level, its been terrible. But I must say the pandemic for us has presented for of an opportunity than a threat for Faraday. It is the best thing that has happened to us as a business, it is allowed us to completely refocus our strategy to online. We hadn’t launched at the beginning of the pandemic so we weren’t in the market, so when lockdown started, we focused on our online sales rather than trying to get into the independent supermarkets across Bradford and the wider West Yorkshire area. That meant getting a new website done, thankfully at a subsidised rate, we have also manged to access Government help through their bounce back loan scheme. So, although the pandemic has been horrific on personal levels, but on a business side without it we would not have been able to get the help we have.
Faraday came to fruition when Omar looked back at his time in university, when he was sitting in a lecture and needing that pick me up, but all of the energy drinks offerings he could find were carbonated. They also couldn’t be resealed.
So, Omar spent two years going backward and forwards to the laboratory to perfect his offering. With the challenges of having reduced sugar but the maximum energy for the customers. Meanwhile getting the right balance in terms of packaging.
Now with a finished product and online sales, Omar will be rolling out his product to shops, but soon hopes to have bigger high street brands stocking Faraday across the country. But for now, he is keen to get his product known in his community and with the help of the University and Bradford Grammar school, he will inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs right here in the city.