Growing up in an inner-city community in England, Nathaniel Peat was naturally exposed to the many problems that are endemic to disadvantaged urban areas.
Too many of his childhood friends became pregnant while still in school and others joined gangs and ended up in prison or dead.
Peat, however, had certain goals he wanted to achieve and he plodded on despite the distractions. He graduated with a Mechanical Engineering degree and a Masters in Advanced Systems Engineering from Brunel University in Florida, secured a pilot’s license, performed with the Haringey Young Musicians Symphony Orchestra for four years and established a martial arts school and a program to address safety and empowerment.
While in university, he also developed his entrepreneurial skills by teaching karate and providing students with saxophone and violin lessons to earn extra money to cover tuition costs.
“A lot of my friends fell by the wayside,” Peat recalled while in Toronto last week to conduct a business workshop. “But my main aspiration as a young kid was to become a pilot. Coming from a working-class background (his parents are Jamaican-born), it was very unlikely that I would have been able to afford the great and enormous cost of paying for aviation training.
“So I was then inspired to think of a way in which I could impact the community, but at the same time secure a benefit for myself and progress in business to the point where I could venture into my passion, which was to fly.”
Peat, who participated in last year’s Future Leaders Diaspora conference in Jamaica, still aspires to be a pilot. In the meantime, he travels the world advising young people on the steps they should consider pursuing to become successful entrepreneurs.
“In my workshops, I show mainly young people how to put together an action plan that is very easy to follow for those aspiring to increase their residual income,” said 31-year-old Peat, who has sat at roundtable discussions with Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown and other influential British business executives offering advice on how entrepreneurs can change the world. “People get ideas and then 10 years later they see something matching their idea and wished that there was somebody around that could have shown them how to utilize their thoughts.
“People have ideas and they are passionate about what they want to do, but they simply lack the skills set. That’s why I am so happy to be in Toronto this weekend to be associated with a group that is interested in creating resources to help young people become tomorrow’s leaders.”
The schoolyard stabbing death of a young family friend four years ago inspired Peat to establish The Safety Box which, among other things, helps young people avoid and manage conflict without using weapons.
“He has done quite a lot of work, especially with young people, and that’s why we chose to bring him here as one of the principal presenters,” said Yanique Williams who founded The Community Online Resource (www.theCORsource.com) to provide useful information that young people can access.
Other presenters at the two-day workshop at Revivaltime Tabernacle included Ontario MPP Mike Colle and entrepreneur Tyronne Edwards.
A Queen’s University political science graduate and Jamaica Diaspora Canada Foundation youth executive member, Williams – who plans to attend law school — participated in the second annual Toronto Regional Champion campaign to help increase the presence of women in politics.
“I found that there are not too many resources that recent graduates can rely on to find tools to progress,” said Williams whose parents, Arnold Rowe and Letna Allen-Rowe, own Rapid Remittance Money Transfer. “On our website, there are scholarship, jobs and networking opportunities.”
The Community Online Resource team also includes Irena Brooks, Natalie Hanson, Nicole Stewart, Dylan Boyd and Anjelica Cole.