Meet Exeter's Apprentice Star: Solomon Akhtar

Apprentice Canditate and Exeter Alumni Solomon Akhtar Talks Business and Pleasure (His Time at Exeter, Of Course)

HerCampus Exeter has caught up with Solomon ‘Solly’ Akhtar to get the low down on his university life and latest business ventures. Solly graduated from Exeter University in 2013 and might be considered a bit of an alumni ‘BNOC’ for his club promotion and various business ventures. Catch him tonight on The Apprentice – BBC 1 at 9pm.

So you ran the club night ‘F*** Me I’m Fresh’, do you think this helped your business instinct?

Yes definitely, a lot of my business ideas came out of going out, partying and just having a good time. My aim in life is to have fun and make money at the same time.

So, did you honestly think Rococo’s was a good night out, really?

Personally I would! It may not be the coolest venue in the world but I had many a good night out at Rococo’s. We ran a lot of themed nights which were pretty funny. Who doesn’t love dressing up as Tarzan or whatever?  And, a lot of people pulled! I like to think of myself as the match-maker of Rococo’s. Wait, that sounds pretty terrible –doesn’t it?

A bit…so how did your time at Exeter help shape your business mind?

To me, the student population just highlighted the demand for fun ways to spend money. Students in Exeter have money – that’s a fact. And they want fun exciting ways to spend it. This is how we came up with the idea of Instabear, one of my businesses I set up in my third year. Instabear is basically a service which will print out your Instagram photos for you and students, especially at Exeter, have responded really well to it. 

So why not a business degree? Do you think it’s made a difference, or held you back in anyway?

There is a lot you can learn from a business course, definitely. But I never wanted to learn from books. I’ll be the first to admit I never worked that hard at my degree.

University gave me the opportunity to meet so many people from all walks of life; just in halls you can meet people who are developers, good with technology, good at art.  Exeter was a great place to network, and for me, that’s the most important thing.  I never went to the library to work, I went to the library to spread flyers about my business, or get talking to people and get them to give our Facebook page a ‘like’. The Forum was the ideal place to network!

So in a ‘The Tab’ article earlier this month you were described as a romancer? Is that accurate?

Urm, no comment. 

You sure?

Well, yeah I’m a 23 year old guy and I like girls. That’s all I’m going to say…

OK – so are you single? 

Yeah, at the moment I am.

Ooh…will you be coming back to Exeter anytime soon now that you're an Apprentice star?

Yes, I’m coming back on the 21st of November. During the day, I’m going to be one of the ten speakers at the SPARK business conference. One of last year’s speakers was fellow Exeter alumni Deborah Meaden so I’m pretty excited about being invited to speak. And of course, that’ll be followed up with a big night out. It’s in the pipelines at the moment, so stay tuned!

Ok so let’s talk about your latest venture Willykini..?

Willykini is the new outrageous swimwear. When I was in my third year at Exeter, I could see these types of jokey outrageous swimwear were taking off via TOWIE and various comedy shows so I made sure I was the first to copyright and trademark the name.  They’re mostly for stag-do’s, ‘Lad’s holidays’ - that kind of thing but they’re massively taking off, we sold out on all our pre-orders via our Facebook page!

So…can HerCampus Exeter get a personal demonstration?

Ok, when our first orders come through I will be sure to send a signed photograph of myself modelling the willykini, how does that sound?

Great! HerCampus Exeter will DEFINITELY be holding you up to that...

Catch up with Solly via  or

Or check out his latest business ventures at and

Don’t forget to watch him tonight on The Apprentice! BBC 1 @ 9pm