Two men who started off a side hustle in 2019 now work with over 100,000 young people.
Calvin Eden Akotuah and Oba Akinwale, 31, from Wavertree and originally from London and Walsall met while studying in Liverpool and decided they did not want to leave. They formed Loud Speaker in 2019 and have hosted over 1500 confidence boosting workshops throughout the Liverpool City Region and the UK.
Their work saw them shortlisted for the prestigious Great British Entrepreneur Awards, now in its 11th year, previously described as the “The Grammys for Entrepreneurship”, which celebrates the UK's most innovative and forward-thinking entrepreneurs. Calvin and Oba's work saw them win the 2023 North West ‘Purpose Entrepreneur of the Year" category.
Loud Speaker Co-founder Calvin, 28, told the ECHO: "Winning this award is a truly humbling experience for me personally. It was completely unexpected, and I feel incredibly fortunate to be part of this journey.
"Such an accolade was beyond our wildest dreams. This recognition validates the passion and hard work we've poured into our mission, and a reminder of how far we've come and how much potential lies ahead.
"Our workshops are transformative experiences for young people designed to boost confidence and elevate aspirations. These experiences often become pivotal moments in their personal development journey".
About 80% of the young people they work with are 15 – 19-years-old, but they start with some as young as 10. Loud Speaker have a sister company called Speak Easy who offer professional development workshops for staff members.
Sefton Sixth Form College student Luca, 17, said: "I was told my college was taking part in the Loud Speaker event, I personally expected something similar to every other confidence boosting workshop I’ve attended. Coming out of my shell was always difficult, and I think that I wouldn’t have anywhere near as many friends as I’ve made since attending the Loud Speaker workshop.
"I wasn’t really open about some of my issues with my newer friends in college but standing up in front of the whole group and sharing my feelings helped me feel a lot more comfortable talking about hardships and overcoming them. It also helped me get closer to all of my new friends since we got to know each other better.
"The topics felt relevant to us as an age group which I’ve never really seen from sessions similar to this. I’ve also become a lot more confident giving out my thoughts and answers in my classes now since the workshop helped me to adjust to speaking in front of large groups of people".
Luca was introduced to Loud Speaker in September 2023. Participants, in general, enjoy the debate portion of the day; hearing and sharing their thoughts and opinions which helps them understand each other.
Loud Speaker has a national reach and workshops have taken them as far as the Isle of Wight with a growing presence in Wales and the prospect to expand into Northern Ireland and Scotland too. Working with youngsters between 15 – 19 they see these as a "critical age as they're about to step into significant new phases of their lives".
Luca added advice for anyone wishing to attend Loud Speaker workshops, and said: "Do it. It might not seem like your cup of tea but we all need the boost of confidence.
“Lots of confidence boosting sessions feel like that drag because the people running them don’t always seem that interested. But, with Loud Speaker, every single team member was so involved and clearly wanted to truly help".
Loud Speaker were presented with the award at an event held in the Grosvenor House Hotel in London on November 20. The awards have become one of the most coveted accolades for entrepreneurs across the UK, celebrating the nation's diverse entrepreneurial landscape.
Awards founder Francesca James said: "Every year I'm blown away with the quantity and quality of applications. The awards receive thousands of applications and the competition is tough.
"I'm truly inspired by the remarkable accomplishments of this year's finalists. Their collective achievements of generating over £2.7 billion in turnover and employing over 33,000 people demonstrate the exceptional impact they have made in their industries and communities".
Calvin added: "As an early-stage company, recognition like this plays a crucial role in building our credibility. It helps demonstrate, to those who haven't yet heard of us, how committed and effective we are in making a difference in the lives of young people".
Luca continued: "I just want to thank Loud Speaker for allowing me to come out of my shell not just to new friends but to people who I don’t even speak to. It felt good to discuss my life with people who truly help me".
For information visit Loud Speaker HERE
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