Dragons’ Den investor, Ryman owner, former La Senza owner and serial entrepreneur Theo Paphitis has been awarded an honorary doctorate by Middlesex University.
"Having left school at 16 with just a certificate for colouring in maps - geography - and another for swimming 10 metres, I hadn't even dreamt about a doctorate,” Paphitis said. “That said, I always try for the unattainable and in this instance I've been incredibly lucky.”
But he added that a lack of formal qualifications never meant that he wasn’t interested in always educating himself as far as he could. “Life is one long learning experience and I go out of my way to increase my knowledge and understanding on a daily basis,” he said. “Perhaps this award is recognition of my passion for education in its broadest sense.”
It’s interesting that the majority of self-made millionaires in the UK never went to university, and, in fact, an estimated third to half are dyslexics, for whom the school system is notoriously difficult. It just goes to prove, if any proof was needed, that the school system for many isn’t what teaches them business savvy – it’s getting out there and actually doing it that counts.
It’s fantastic to see a university that is focused on innovation recognising this, and one of our country’s most famous and successful entrepreneurs being acknowledged in such a prestigious way for his achievements – even if the traditional education systems failed to recognise his potential in the past.