A multimillionaire businessman who grew up relying on free school meals is donating £1million to a YouTube show called Millionaire Mentor, which aims to find young entrepreneurs from disadvantaged backgrounds.
At just 12 years old, when his interest in business peaked with a self-help audiobook he listened to every night before bed, at the same age, company director Roy Ledgister, 48, started washing cars and, at 24, became the UK’s youngest senior. legal partner.
But life was tough for Roy, his lawyer sister Tracey Ledgister, 52, and their mother Joyce Ledgister, 71, who moved to Britain from the Caribbean in the 1960s.
A single parent after splitting from Roy’s father when he was two, Joyce always aimed high and was awarded an MBE in 2012 for her decades of dedicated service to HM Revenue and Customs.
Raised in the then difficult neighborhood of Shepherd’s Bush, west London, Roy, who still lives nearby with his beautician wife Naomi Ledgister, 38, and has five children, Nia, 21, Blake, 12, Oliver, five, Myles, three, and Charlotte, one, said: “I was born into a black Caribbean family and raised by my single mother.
“But when I was only 12, I found a self-help tape and realized that I could influence life’s outcomes by following simple rules for success, and my past wasn’t holding me back. no, that was my strength.”
He added: “I’ve been brainwashed to be positive. And I want to empower others and help them on their journey.
Now a real estate mogul and founder of investment firm Convivia – which raised the funds for a nine-figure investment in affordable housing – through his apprentice-style show, Roy hopes to give back to his community and encourage young people companies from an “atypical” business mould. to find their place as he did.
Leaping between homes and bed and breakfasts as a child, Roy recalled the joy he felt when he finally moved into a housing association property with his mother and sister. , where they all slept together in the same room.
He said: “I remember thinking it was quite fun at the time because we all slept together in the same room.”
But her mother was a “transplant,” making sure her children had everything they needed to succeed in life.
Roy said: “My mum worked very hard. She was a grafter, she made sure we had everything. She refused to allow us to live in a difficult area and did everything to support us.
He added: “She would never settle for second best, which gave us a stepping stone to success. She was disciplined, and order and respect for authority were standards by which she lived.
“I never want to embarrass her, because she did everything for us, but she inspired me. Hard work was all I knew thanks to her.
“She was my mum and my dad made one and did a superb job.”
And it was his discontinued self-help audiobook, The Magic of Thinking Big by David J Schwartz that, from the age of 12, convinced Roy he could accomplish anything.
He said: “I always wanted to be a lawyer when I was a kid. The idea of being in the courtroom appealed to me and the tape made me think it was possible.
“I listened to it every day before going to bed. When I was a child, I was afraid of the dark, but hearing the tape, I felt like I had someone in my room with me.
Only realizing his family was in trouble when he noticed that his classmates all had pocket money and paid for food every day, while he relied on free school meals, Roy was determined to change. that.
Offering car wash services in his neighborhood aged 12, within two years he had hired a few pals to join his £200 a month business.
He said: “When I realized that I was different from my classmates, as I had no pocket money and my school meals were free, I was a bit embarrassed.”
He added: “I just wanted the money and didn’t think being 12 or 13 should make a difference.”
At 14, he wanted to be a lawyer, so he sent handwritten letters to London law firms, only to keep getting rejections.
Then, at age 15, he got his big break when he met two lawyers, Barry Cliff and James O’Keefe, at his school’s career day.
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