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Last Updated: Friday, 30 November 2007, 06:46 GMT
Dyslexic boy spices up business
Tom Sweet
The stall is helping me a lot, especially with my maths
Tom Sweet
A 12-year-old boy has started his own business after becoming fed up with suggestions that his dyslexia might affect his chances of a good job.

Tom Sweet, from Lampeter, Ceredigion, set up a market stall importing foreign herbs and spices earlier this month.

He has also received messages of encouragement from celebrity chefs Rick Stein and Phil Vickery after writing to them for inspiration.

Tom said his business had been a hit with customers so far.

Dyslexia is a condition that can cause difficulty with reading, writing, spelling and arithmetic.

Despite reassurance from Tom's parents that his condition would not hold him back in the future, he decided to start up his own company, Spice Thyme.

He borrowed 200 from his parents to buy some stock, and has visited two weekend markets in Swansea and Aberystwyth so far.

"I wanted to do something that could help me and generate some money so I set up a business," said Tom.

"I'd been told that my dyslexia could affect my chances of getting a good job in the future."

His parents are also stallholders and sell cider. They set up next to Tom and give him support when he needs it.

Rick Stein
I think it's an excellent idea and will stand you in good stead for the future
Chef Rick Stein

"There seemed a gap in the market for herbs and spices," added Tom, who imports products from China, India, France and Italy.

"The stall is helping me a lot, especially with my maths."

Tom, also a keen cook, has been inspired by food heroes Rick Stein, Raymond Blanc, Phil Vickery and Jean-Christophe Novelli.

His parents said the chefs sent messages of support after they wrote to them about their son.

'Good on him'

Mr Stein said: "I think it's an excellent idea and will stand you in good stead for the future.

"My oldest son, Edward, who is now 28 is dyslexic and he went to university and very much enjoyed it.

"Best wishes and good luck with the herbs and spices company."

Mr Vickery said Tom was "forward thinking and plugging a nice loophole in the market".

"The catering world could do well to look at this young man, and see his determination to succeed.

"It's great to see the future of this young man is looking rosy. Good on him," he added.

Tom's father Kevin said his son had worked hard to develop his business and added that his experience had given him confidence.

Tom Sweet explains how he started his spice business

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