Tommie Rose: the schoolboy entrepreneur cashes in

Tommie Rose, who made £14k from selling sweets in the playground, has branched out


Tommie Rose hit the headlines earlier this month, when his head teacher forced him to close down his playground junk food sales business, for breaking school rules. By then Rose had made £14,000 in three years, selling sweets and drinks. But this is a drop in the ocean compared to what he could make from his new-found fame.

As we reported, the 14-year-old from Salford had been smuggling chocolate, crisps and fizzy drinks into school. The fact that there's a junk food ban in operation at Builie High School means he had a captive market, so raked in a small fortune from selling the contraband.

His head teacher said it was against school rules, and told him to close down his operation. Since then, the teenage entrepreneur has closed this business, and is finding new ways to make money.

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His first step was to close his business and give away his remaining stock to the homeless. He arranged for the Manchester Evening News to be there when he handed it over as an 'early Christmas present." He told the newspaper that he was in talks with the headmaster about plans for a healthy tuck shop business.

However, before doing anything else, he decided to cash in on fame. His first move was to sign a Lucozade bottle and put it up for auction on eBay. His description read: "Here you [are] bidding on 1 bottle of orange Lucozade signed by me, Tommie Rose. I'm the young businessman who has been all over the press in last few days in every national newspaper and trending on Twitter and Facebook. This is a limited piece as I am only signing 2. Happy bidding."

The auction generated a bid of £150 - although it's not known whether the buyer has paid up. It also spawned a number of copycat auctions, from sellers claiming they were also Tommy Rose selling a signed bottle of fizzy drink. Unsurprisingly they haven't generated any bids.

His next move was to launch a fashion brand called Black Market Products. His first line is a T-shirt, which he designed but local firm Applique Apparel donated the shirts and the printing for. The profits will be split equally between his university fund and a homeless charity. He has launched them on eBay, with a photo of Bez from the Happy Mondays sporting a shirt, and so far he has sold six at £13.99.

But his latest announcement is that he has accepted a job with the National Enterprise Challenge. He has become a young ambassador, and will sit alongside Theo Paphitis on the judging panel at the finals in July.

Michael Dyer, CEO of the National Enterprise Challenge said: "We are delighted to have Tommy on board as our young ambassador because his entrepreneurial spirit is what we go around the country promoting on a day to day basis. When we heard about the story, we had to get in touch with him. Tommy had several other offers but himself and his parents feel that this is a great fit for Tommy at this moment in time."

The question is what will happen next. Is this the springboard for the next Richard Branson or Lord Sugar? Or is this Rose's 15 minutes of fame?

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