William Adoasi is the founder of the Vitae Group (Vitae London, Vitae Digital, Broken Chain Co and Vitae Photography), who started his first business – Starlight Academy – at age 19.
His stand-out venture is Vitae London, a watch brand that directly transforms the lives of children who have either been orphaned or live in poverty. Each purchase from the range of watches supplies a child in Africa with two sets of school uniform, a bag and footwear.
William has been named on the prestigious Future of Ghana Top 30, featured in Forbes’ 25 Leading Black British Business People to Follow and was selected as a Virgin ambassador for entrepreneurship within the UK. He has been nominated for the 2017 GUBA Awards for Business Start Up of the Year and the 2017 Best Fashion Designer at the Black British Entertainment Awards.
Contact Great British Speakers today to book Vitae London Entrepreneur and Philanthropist William Adoasi for your next event.
Born and raised on a south London council estate, British-Ghanaian William Adoasi’s Vitae London company, which he set up in 2015, had reached over £1 million in revenue by 2021.
The eldest of seven children, William earned a scholarship to a prestigious boarding school, after having the importance of education instilled in him by his father. “I think my dad was the first in my family to learn to read and write”. William thinks that by getting an education, his father broke the cycle of poverty that had plagued his family for generations. His arrival at school would be the first time he really felt like a minority as one of the only black people in the school, and one of the only students from a council estate. The realisation that the playing field is far from level set in motion the desire to make a difference and help people.
Whilst at University, he realised that he could do more for society through work than studying, so he dropped out and began running workshops in schools through physical education. The business turned over £160,000 in three years; however, the funding was pulled and his business broke down.
Determined to create a business that would spread positivity, William persuaded his wife that he could use their £7,000 savings to build Vitae. However, this wasn’t enough to build inventory, so he applied for a small loan from Virgin Startup Loans. Thanks to this, he got the opportunity to interview Richard Branson, who was so touched by his idea that he bought a watch from him on the spot.
That loan helped him sell over £150,000 worth of products, and he then received a place on Backstage Capital’s London Accelerator program which provided him with over £82,000 of funding to further grow his business.
For every watch sold, the company supports a child in Africa through their education, providing them with uniforms and shoes as well as a solar-powered lamp so they always have a light source with which to study. It is this philanthropy angle that has made his watches popular amongst people at the top of their fields, including Branson, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo, Actor Ashley Walters, DJ Yinka Bokinni and popstars Michelle Williams, Paloma Faith and Emeli Sande.
William is passionate about helping those from difficult and underprivileged backgrounds.
“My family have come from a lower-income background, and with the capital I bring in now I make an impact in the background where I come from. If more people rise up within structures, they can do the same. Instead of shouting and screaming, we want to change, they’ll actually be in the position to make that change”.
See how Williams company Vitae London is making a difference on the ground…
– Black Lives Matter
– Overcoming Obstacles and Adversity
– Diversity, Equality and Inclusion
He has given a TED talk titled Finding Purpose Through Pain, where he talks about his business idea, his struggles through childhood and what motivates him to succeed. He has spoken for the UK Black Business Week, at the 2019 Trailblazers Men’s Conference, at the Issuu Volunteer Programme 2019 and contributed to The Black Men Business Talks. He has also featured on the Paradigm Norton For Life podcast where he discussed his journey from a council estate to founding a million-pound business whilst providing support and resources to children experiencing obstacles to education.