Gbemi Alo’Nuko

Gbemi, taught herself to sew when she was just 11 years old. She impressed judges on BBC One’s Young Apprentice in 2011, and started a business from her bedroom a year later.


What does your business do?
I design bespoke dresses for evening and bridal wear.


Where were you before you started with LYST?
I was just making clothes in my bedroom! I taught myself to sew when I was 11.


Why did you start the business?
Friends and people at school wanted to buy the clothes I was wearing, so I knew I could make some money out of it. It was when I was 17 that a hobby turned into something serious.


The best thing about being an entrepreneur is…..
The business has grown really quickly so now I can support myself financially. It means I can live my life the way I want to live it. I’m even turning down orders!


And the hardest thing?
I like jumping in at the deep end so I’ve learnt to be very disciplined. I’m a perfectionist so sometimes I have to be hard on myself to get things right.


What difference has LYST made to your business?
I first heard from a friend about how many opportunities LYST can provide young people like me who want to get into business. LYST help people’s futures, not just in business. They open doors for people who need support to reach their goals, like the Mind Your Own Business scheme.


What is your ambition in business?
Firstly, excel in everything I do. Aside from the business I want to continue mentoring kids from the local area at risk of getting into trouble at school with Project Biscey. I’ve come through that and know the dangers of gangs and teenage pregnancy so want to help other kids from a similar background achieve their potential.