Lad who left school with no GCSEs turns life around to become candy entrepreneur

It seems Alan Sugar may have met his match.

A young lad who battled dyslexia and left school with no GCSEs has turned his life around to become a gourmet sweet entrepreneur.

If you’re wondering just what ‘gourmet sweet’ might mean, think Amaretto cherries, Piña Colada gummies, and Gin & Tonic sweeties. Oh, and our fave, Prosecco-flavoured bears.

Speaking exclusively to Uspire, Kane Dowell revealed how his rise to success was not an easy one, having struggled at school and starting his business with £20,000 debt.

Kane said: “When I was at school, I really, really struggled with a lot. Some of my friends were very clever, academically, they were a lot quicker off the mark than I was.

“I would just look and think I sounded silly, but because I did suffer from dyslexia and I wasn’t taught in a different way to someone else in my class without a learning difficulty.”

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The London resident believes that with the right help, those with certain needs can excel just as their peers do with the traditional school syllabus.

He continued: “My experience felt overwhelming, I found that when you sit exams it is daunting and I suffered with that. I always think, surely there’s another way?”

On leaving school, Kane soon rebelled and began living like a rock star, buying laptops and going on dream holidays – though the cash was coming from loans and finances.

At the time, Kane found it easy to access credit card after credit card and it wasn’t long before he found his debts spiralling.

It was only when Kane’s father opened one of the credit card statements that his secret unravelled and his spending habits were out in the open.

He said: “I had got myself into a right mess. I couldn’t sleep. From that moment onwards, I was just really honest with myself and everyone else.”

As he began paying back the huge sums, Kane’s lifestyle also took a hit as he pulled back on frivolous spending and began wondering what he could do professionally.

It was then that he founded Ask Mummy & Daddy, his sweet shop with a (mojito) twist.

Kane said: “I wanted to do it so I could leave a stamp on the industry, explaining my story, telling people that it can actually happen for you even if there are bumps in the road.

“I’ve got loads of energy, I’m happy and willing to listen to people with their advice.

“The investor we got onboard I talk to as a friend because we get along really, really well. We’re very honest with each other. We FaceTime every day. We bounce off each other.

“He’s really supportive. He’s always been like, ‘Kane, I need to give you the support.’ That’s what I need. He challenges me too, but that’s what it should be like.”

Together, the pair are now taking the company to the next level with a brand-new website launching next month and introducing personalised products along with subscription services to keep customers engaged.

They will also launch their most extravagant item ever: 24-karat gold champagne bears with real gold and presented in a black gift box.

Kane said: “It’s really, really trendy. The box is being designed at the moment. I will be honest; it will be expensive. The cocktail candy gummies are very expensive to make.”

On a mission to build his business and balance his wellbeing so he doesn’t resort to big spending habits again, Kane says he manages his mental health by reading and walking.

He concluded: “I read on walks. Sometimes, I go and read on walks and leave my phone at home. It keeps me from looking at it and I find that’s really good to me.

“I know it’s hard when you’ve got your own business and you have to try and focus on things, but you need to relax too.”

Noted, just off to order some G&T sweeties for that walk.

To grab your order, click here: Ask Mummy & Daddy.