Clayton Planter is in a buoyant mood after a meeting with the probation service to finalise a new working partnership.
“In the beginning, the corporate and public sector didn’t want to work with me at all,” he confides with a grin.
The social entrepreneur founded Street2Boardroom in 2016 to open up opportunities for ex-offenders and people from disadvantaged backgrounds, who are being failed by a system that doesn’t allow them to reach their full potential.
Sitting in jeans and trainers, sipping a sparkling apple juice, he is not your average businessman and that’s the whole point – clothes and backgrounds should not act as barriers to success and enabling people to achieve their potential.
“We have just launched a £50,000 crowdfunder to make the business sustainable – we want to make Street2Boardroom a franchise model,” Clayton announces with another wide smile.
But it hasn’t been easy for the 36-year-old, who grew up in St Paul’s and went to secondary school in Filton, where he was head boy. After leaving school, he quickly realised that opportunities just weren’t available to him and he struggled to get paid employment.
“I got frustrated because I wasn’t involved in crime, but I could not get any paid jobs,” he recalls.
“A lot of my friends did take to drug dealing. I thought about doing the same, because I was there saying to them ‘no that’s wrong’, but then I could not find a job because there was no opportunity.”
Always one to break the status quo, Clayton decided something had to change. He realised that the skills needed by drug dealers were actually not so different to those required to achieve in the in the legal, corporate world.
It was just a case of ‘learning the legal hustle’.
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