Doncaster company aiming to help grandfather with Asperger’s Syndrome launch his own charity
A Doncaster based company could help a grandfather who suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome launch a charity to help others with the neurological condition after he passed an audition for its X-Factor style competition.
Geoff Szlamp is hoping to be a millionaire by the end of 2019 after entering a competition organised by the property wealth education and training body.
Geoff is one of 40 contestants who entered the Millionaire Maker challenge at the start of the year and, after passing an audition, he’s now being mentored by judges before facing a public vote in December.
The aim of the Touchstone Education contest, is to help as many contestants as possible to generate a turnover of £1 million or more.
The first to reach the target will receive a VIP package worth £15,000 including an all-expenses paid trip to a Formula One race weekend with Touchstone.
Geoff, 67, has worked as a property manager and Investor since retiring from his job at ICI in 2015.
The father of five and grandfather of three hopes to reach the £1 million mark by continuing his strategy of investing in buy-to-let property and serviced accommodation in South Yorkshire, as well as converting former commercial properties into homes and buying land for housing development.
He said: “Taking part in Millionaire Maker has motivated me out of my comfort zone and I’ve taken on board the responsibility of providing the best life that I can for my family.
“I’m working towards developing a charity to help sufferers with Asperger Syndrome as I have been diagnosed with this condition. I want to make a real difference and to leave a legacy. The Millionaire Maker programme will make this happen.”
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Geoff added: “I still need to overcome a few milestones, like procrastination, but I’m on my way. It’s not about the money, as this is just a way of keeping score. With a great deal of money comes a great deal of responsibility. It’s about what you can do for others that really counts. If I win, we all win as I will be able to do many good things and help a lot of people.”
In January competitors submitted business plans and each was asked to explain what they wanted from the process and what they hoped to achieve, other than to make money.
A final group of 25 was selected by judges, based on the quality of their submissions and on their determination to succeed.
They have been split into two teams, one mentored by Touchstone’s chief executive, Paul Smith and managing director, Abi Hookway, and the other by Paul’s wife and business partner, Aniko, and the company’s commercial director, Gordon Dutfield, with each battling to produce the first millionaire.
After visiting judges’ houses for an intensive training weekend, the contestants are now putting their business plans into practice with help and advice from mentors during weekly catch-up sessions. Each contestant is keeping a video diary to provide a record of their investment journey.
Touchstone, which runs courses and seminars across the UK focused on investment in property, launched the competition as a way of bringing investors together to share their experiences and expertise.
Paul said: “We’re always looking for new ways to impart our knowledge and this X-Factor style competition helps to generate some energy and excitement around the process.
“By adding a competitive edge, there’s an added incentive for our investors, with help from our staff, to push themselves further to make their property portfolios worker harder for them.”
He added: “We’ve already seen some early wins for our investors and, even at this early stage, several are on course to reach the £1 million mark by the end of the year.”