Didn't get into university? No worries- you don't need a degree to start a business

Here are just a few success stories from individuals who decided to jump in at the deep end and start their own businesses instead:

Fraser Doherty

Scottish jam-maker Fraser Doherty and his innovative business venture saw him drop out of university, and his ability to inherit his Gran’s secret recipe and make it his own has seen him reap the rewards. At the age of 14, Doherty developed an interest for jam and after experiement after experiment to perfect his recipe, he created SuperJam. A product that is sugar free, Doherty’s jam is sweetened with grape juice, and made using fruits such as blueberries and cranberries. Awarded a number of awards since 2005, Doherty was awarded the Smarta 100 award in 2010, and he was named in the top 10 of the ‘Times Young Power List’ a year later. 

Tom Mursell 

Tom Mursell is a prime example of how university isn’t the only route to success- he created a website to prove it. In 2008, after he decided against university despite being offered a place to study law, Mursell founded notgoingtouni.co.uk. The UK's biggest non-graduate careers website, it helps the 55% of school & college leavers that decide against the university route to find world-class training opportunities. Giving people the opportunity to gain employment without a degree, the website created a frenzy in the careers industry. Since then, Mursell has worked with established entrepreneurs and is working on his next start-up.

Deborah Meaden 

Dragons’ Den investor Deborah Meaden is a household name when it comes to business. Meaden's journey to respected business woman didn't get off to the best of starts. After finishing her studies at business college at the age of 19, she created her own glass and ceramics company, but walked away from the business when it didn't go to plan. Eager to fulfil her potential, Meaden experienced success in the retail and leisure sector before taking up a position in the family amusement arcade business. This prepared her for success and when Meaden moved to Weststar Holidays, she transformed the company. It was sold in 2005 in a deal worth £33m to Phoenix Equity Partners but, showing her business know-how, the entrepreneur retained a stake in the business. Two years later and she sold her 23% ownership to Parkdean Holidays after they secured Weststar for £83m. Her successful business record saw Meaden become a Dragon in series three, her investments to-date include ProperMaid and The Running Mat

Sir Richard Branson

A true inspiration to those that choose against university, Sir Richard Branson is a classic example that hard work and perseverance pays off. Founder of the Virgin Group, Branson was a school drop-out at the age of 16 when he decided to pack his studies in and start a youth-culture magazine. After realising a gap in the music industry, Branson founded a mail-order record label named Virgin. Virgin records put Branson on the entrepreneur map, after he secured artists such as the Rolling Stones and Genesis. And the rest, as they say, is history. Branson’s Virgin Group includes more than 200 companies in over 30 countries, including a Virgin Trains. His ideas have transformed industries and his latest business, Virgin Galatic, is on a mission to make space travel a normal holiday trip.  So if you think university is a necessity, think again!

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