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River Island boss joins Supa Academy mentoring scheme

River Island chief executive Ben Lewis will take part in a mentoring programme to help young people learn business skills from July 14-19.

The Supa Academy pop-up at the Boxpark mall in Shoreditch, east London, will give aspiring entrepreneurs – known as Supa Partners – the opportunity to run their own store supported by mentors from River Island, including Lewis.

The unit will stock 56 items from River Island’s women’s holiday shop, including clothing, accessories and shoes. The Supa Partners, who were recruited via a separate pop-up in London’s Old Street underground station in May, will work across the whole business journey, from setting up the space to advising customers and completing sales.

They will keep the proceeds from each sale.

A similar event called the Supa Academy Hack will run from July 24-26 at The Old Truman Brewery in London, during which 500 18- to 24-year-olds will run a pop-up supermarket as well as selling and shipping products via an accompanying website.

The Supa Academy initiative is being run in partnership with 19-year-old Bejay Mulenga, who founded a school tuck shop business when he was 16, which is now worth £200,000, and the former managing director of youth music platform SBTV Liam Tootill.


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