The founder and current managing director of Orbit, Kieran Aitken, shared the story of Orbit’s journey and the lessons he has learned building the organisation at an event hosted by Start-Up Grind in Glasgow.
The interview – which took place in December 2019 – saw Kieran being asked an array of questions on Orbit’s story, networking, the entrepreneurial mindset, and the successes and setbacks that have been experienced when building Orbit.
He revealed how getting the most out of one’s time is crucial when building a start-up. “I schedule my day into fifteen minute blocks. A typical day starts at 5:00am and concludes by 10:30pm, and every fifteen minutes of the day has a task allocated to it. The scheduling process is grueling but I’m a firm believer that if you don’t control your diary, it’ll control you”.
Orbit was founded in 2015 after a then teenage Aitken found himself hiding behind Scottish billionaire Sir Tom Hunter’s car in a Glasgow parking lot. “I had overheard a phone-call on the 18th May 2015 whilst waiting in the reception room of a famous factory in Glasgow”, said Kieran. “I learned that Sir Tom was going to be visiting the same factory two days later. So I took a day off school, went to the factory and hid behind Sir Tom’s car. When he left the building I began pitching the idea for Orbit to him in the car park”.
When asked about the value of networking Kieran highlighted the importance of getting to know people that can help bring your idea to fruition, before revealing the exact strategies he used to meet some of the UK’s leading business figures, including Jim McColl OBE, Sir Boyd Tunnock and Lord Haughey OBE.
Kieran revealed the plans for Orbit’s future, which include decentralizing the organisation’s structure, expanding overseas and creating an innovative model to finance work whilst keeping the programme available to Orbiteers from all walks of life.
He also spoke about his vision for the education system as a whole. “I believe that the curriculum should be broadened to allow students to find their passions and purpose in life”. He added that “this doesn’t necessarily have to be facilitated by teachers (whom are already pressed for time and money). Instead, private NGOs, businesses and charities have fantastic programmes that expose students to a broader and more relevant curriculum that will prepare young people for the workplace of the future.”