Good grades aren’t part of every success story

As students across the UK receive their GCSE results, nineteen-year-old Alessandro Paletta explains why knowing where your true skills lie is better for life than exams and top grades.

For the award-winning entrepreneur, Alessandro Paletta, deciding to leave college at sixteen years old hasn’t impeded his business success. Now, at nineteen years old, he operates a thriving social media marketing agency, which employs a growing team of talent and attracts clients such as Admiral.

Alessandro has achieved all this without the grades one would expect a business owner to possess in an age when exam results seem the only option. In fact, while most of his friends were embarking on their A Levels, Alessandro was setting up his first business venture for which he was hailed the Welsh Global Entrepreneur Champion 2015. By the time he received the results of his AS Levels at the end of that year, he realised the world of academia was not for him. Recalling that time, he says, “My results weren’t great and I felt I was wasting my time in the classroom when I could have been growing my own business and earning a living. I knew I had the ability to succeed without A Levels or a university education so I decided to pursue the goals that mattered most to me.

“I was always interested in technology and was an avid fan of Dragons’ Den. I wanted to create an online forum where entrepreneurs could pitch for investment and so I created a business working with angel investors and venture capitalists. Setting up the business had its challenges but the whole experience taught me so much more than anything I could have learned at school.”

Alessandro then went on to form a social media agency, SocialCo.

Alessandro firmly believes his success is down to having the right attitude and complete self-awareness. He continues,
“Exams are important for many people and an education can lead to great opportunities but that wasn’t the path for me. Had I continued along it, I know I wouldn’t be where I am today. I realised my strengths early on and knew what I enjoyed doing. I was and continue to be self-motivated to succeed.”

Setting up a business at sixteen years old wasn’t easy. As he was under the age of eighteen, government loans were not accessible to Alessandro and banks wouldn’t lend to him. Undeterred, he took up a part-time job and received support from his father.

“I will always be grateful for the financial support and encouragement I received from my family. It was very important to me to know my dad believed in me and backed my efforts. He spurred me on and I knew I wouldn’t have to rely on my exam results to achieve my goals.”

Alessandro is now the director of a social media agency that supports businesses throughout the UK. The ethos of the company is to operate with transparency, persistence, mutual trust and integrity.

“These are the values on which I have always based my business relationships but they are incredibly important in all aspects of my life. It is these qualities – not my exam results – that have got me this far. My advice to anyone receiving their results, whether they have passed or failed, is to consider where their true strengths lie and what genuinely motivates them to succeed. Having a greater awareness about yourself will enable you to make the right decisions about your future, whether that is to continue with your studies or pursue a completely different path. It would be great to see more young people embracing an entrepreneurial spirit if they believe they have what it takes. Either way, I wish everyone receiving exam results that very best of luck in their future endeavours!”

Owen Gough

Owen Gough

Owen Gough is a reporter for He has a background in small business marketing strategies and is responsible for writing content on subjects ranging from small business finance to technology...

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