A FORMER Oxford student has been crowned Young Entrepreneur of the Year in Esquire magazine’s ‘Man at the Top’ business awards. Charlie Osmond, 30, co-founded the recruitment consultancy FreshMinds with fellow Oxford graduate Caroline Plumber, beating off competition from four other hopefuls to win the title. Osmond, who graduated from Worcester College in 2000, was in his final year when he came up with the idea for the business.On the FreshMinds website, the company is described as “a recruitment consultancy for high calibre candidates.”It says, “Only the best candidates make it into our talent pool and our client list includes exciting companies ranging from big blue chips to fast-moving start-ups. Candidates come to us to find the most stimulating roles around. Clients come to us for help to identify, recruit and retain the very best talent for permanent roles and project work.”Osmond said he started the company after realising that businesses could use the potential and talent of graduates who were taking gap years. “I had many friends who were going into consultancy and banking who were going away to travel for a year. I realised that there was this wealth of untapped minds of highly capable people available with time on their hands. For example, one of our first ‘minds’ went on to work for McKinsey and Company,” he said. Osmond, who studied Engineering, Economics and Management at Oxford, was delighted to win the award, considering it to be a valuable recognition of his company’s achievements. He added that his degree at Oxford as well as his experience in the JCR had been crucial in forming his success. “I was JCR President, which was useful as it gave me good team management training. For me personally my degree was extremely valuable,” he said. “Engineering taught me that no matter how difficult a problem was you could solve it, while economics and management was good as it gave me a good grounding in the issues and problems we faced as these were problems we had studied and thought about at university.” Kirsty Mann, one of the company’s ‘minds’, who graduated from Somerville College in 2004, said businesses used the company to carry out research projects with a view to offering and providing solutions and ideas. Mann, who wants to become an actress, praised the flexibility of the company which allowed her to fit auditions around work. “I’m trying to break into musical theatre, and graduated a year ago from the Royal Academy of Performing Arts, so I need a temporary job that is very flexible. You’re given work on a project by project basis so it’s very flexible and provides good and interesting temporary work,” she said.According to Mann, the company acts as a good intermediary step into many different fields of work. “It’s brilliant for people who want to move into management consultancy or banking. They get very good work experience. Another one of my colleagues is looking to be a journalist, and so this provides him with money and experience while he searches for a job,” she said.
Warburtons has teamed up with NetApp to help manage and store data from its 14 bakeries, producing over a million products a day. As the business has expanded, the organisation of the data has been of critical importance and Warburtons needed an efficient, secure and easy way to manage it. NetApp specialises in providing solutions for the storage, delivery, and management of network data and content.”Warburtons is seeing double-digit growth and, for a number of years, we have been spreading geographically,” explained Martin Ogden, infrastructure manager at Warburtons. The company needed a robust data storage system, with data copied in real-time to a disaster recovery facility. And the IT upgrades had to be made without disrupting its 24/7/365 operations.The final upgrade was completed with zero system downtime, added Ogden.’’www.netapp.com’’