Best friends go from selling sweets in schools to launching a multimillion-pound app

Free app that connects UK students with employers from NHS to Spotify (PA Real Life)

When best friends Oliver Jacobs and Joseph Black, both 25, started selling sweets and fizzy drinks to their students at Aldenham School in Hertfordshire as teenagers, they couldn’t have imagined they had become an adult. set up one of the most successful stores. Freelance apps by the time they’re in their 20s.

Oliver and Joseph launched UniTaskr two years ago.

In that time, their business venture has amassed 190,000 members, 20 employees, six-figure turnover and provided £10.7 million worth of jobs for UK students.

Despite always being concerned with money – at the age of 14, Oliver designed loft chats for neighbors while Joseph was selling golf balls in Spain during his school holidays – the duo says they don’t create UniTaskr for the purpose of making money.

“We really wanted to make it so that students never have to leave college because they can’t make a living,” says Joseph.

‘We don’t want students to lack the opportunity to have college experience and develop their talents, just because they can’t afford it.’

Joseph and Oliver met at school in 2009, when Joseph arrived as a boarding student at Aldenham School in Hertfordshire, where Oliver was studying (Image: PA Real Life)
Working together, they sell sweets and carbonated drinks, which are kept in school closets, to fellow students – earning up to £2,000 a term (Image: PA Real Life)

The couple met in 2009, when Joseph arrived as a boarding student at Aldenham School in Hertfordshire, where Oliver was studying.

At the age of 13, Joseph pushed Oliver into the pool during their first meeting as a joke, after which they became best friends.

Discovering they both had an entrepreneurial spirit, they sold candies and fizzy drinks, which were kept in school refrigerators, to classmates – earning up to £2,000 a term.

After going in slightly different directions after school, they remained friends through college – Oliver at Nottingham Trent, studied architecture and Joseph studied animal genetics at Manchester Metropolitan University – and passed on. inspired to create an app together after witnessing a mutual friend having to drop out of his studies because he couldn’t afford to continue, despite giving up four other bar jobs together.

Oliver said: ‘For us it was an important moment. It encourages us to start something.

Seeing a friend struggling to afford college inspired Oliver and Joseph to create their app, UniTaskr (Image: PA Real Life)

‘We now have 180,000 students in the UK using UniTaskr to find jobs with salaries between £5 and £5,000 and build work experience.

‘One mother even said that the work she received through UniTaskr helped her raise her children during the pandemic.

‘We asked students to post tasks when they were feeling frustrated or isolated and used it as a tool to meet friends.

‘We are already starting to make a difference in the UK, but at the same time we are just beginning.’

Their free app connects UK students with employers from the NHS to Spotify who pay for skills like digital marketing, design, proofreading and photography.

Oliver takes care of the design and development of everything (Image: PA Real Life)

Employers simply post details of a task they want to complete and how much they are willing to pay for that task on UniTaskr, then students register their interest and hope to get hired or recruiter You can browse through eligible students and reach them directly.

Fees range from £5 to test and evaluate a product to £20 for blogging, while work orders are more stable at around £250 a week or so.

They also created a feature called ‘Screams’, which they say is the most successful to date.

The couple are determined to hold their ground (Credit: PA Real Life)

Shout allows students to earn money as ‘nano influencer’ – someone with 500 to 5,000 social media followers – posting on behalf of companies looking to boost their profile. surname.

They now have 180,000 nano-influencers on their app, which Joseph says is the largest network of nano-influencers on an app in the world.

Oliver, who is now in charge of the design and development of everything, added: ‘Students have a ton of skills but often struggle to get by by working late-night shifts in bars and houses. with inflexible hours, so we wanted to change that.’

Despite their success, the friends enjoy a casual, young professional lifestyle in south-west London and are determined to stay on top as their business grows.

They have even used their app to help those in need, mobilizing 10,000 students during the pandemic to distribute food to vulnerable people.

“This is just the beginning,” says Oliver.

‘There are still thousands of students in the UK that we still want to help.

‘And if it works here, it can work worldwide.’

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Tom Vazquez

Tom Vazquez is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Tom Vazquez joined USTimeToday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with Tom Vazquez by emailing

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