Ex-prisoner, 23, opens milkshake bar in Harlesden to inspire young people
PUBLISHED: 17:56 06 May 2016 | UPDATED: 12:49 09 May 2016
© Adam Tiernan Thomas
A spell in prison has transformed the life of a car fanatic from Queen’s Park who has opened his first shop in Harlesden to inspire young people.
Prince Wasim, who lives on Kilburn Lane, opened Milk Sheikh in Tavistock Road, this week to give young people a place to go and deter them from crime.
The 23-year-old said time spent in prison for driving offences forced him to spend time alone and reassess his life.
He said: “I’m a changed person. I got kicked out of school and went to a pupil referral unit but I’ve still made it, got a degree at uni.
“Sitting in prison alone having some me time made me realise that there’s a lot more to life than just hanging around with the wrong crowd and taking life for granted. Life is what you make it.”
Growing up with his mother, a tailor and father, who owns a community centre and two siblings, Mr Wasim, attended Wilberforce Primary School in Queen’s Park, before attending North Westminster School, followed by John Kelly, now Crest Academy, and finishing in a pupils’ referral unit.
After he graduated from Oxford Brookes University with a degree in international business and finance, he started “buying and selling cars” before he ended up in prison.
He said: “At school I got involved in fighting, stuff like that, getting in trouble with teachers. Normally kids get into drugs but I never did that. I was a young car fanatic, I did things like get my mummy’s car and take it without her knowing. I wanted to be cool; I wanted girls to see me in a car. I don’t want the younger generation to think any of that’s cool. What’s cool is opening up something for your community.”
After reading up on entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson and Lord Alan Sugar, Mr Wasim opened Milk Sheikh, serving waffles, crepes, deserts and many varieties of milkshake, using his savings and financial help from his family.
He said: “Harlesden doesn’t have anything like this.
“People go to Crème in Wembley, there’s nowhere else round here. I’m not a chef, but this is easy.
“A lot of school children come in and I get into conversation with them. It’s a place for them to go. They see rappers and think all that sort of stuff is glamorous and cool.
“I tell them no, owning a business is cool.”