A Derby-based businessman has overcome adversity to establish a new online business. Chris Goodwin launched SchoolMates, a networking site that brings together over 32,000 schools, colleges, academies and universities across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, in September 2018 and has already reached 20,000 users, despite the site being in its infancy.

Chris always had an ambition to conquer the world of the internet and have his own successful online business, ever since completing his studies in computer science.

But when the unthinkable happened at the age of 18, when he was diagnosed with a tumour that had grown the length of his spine – leading to major surgery that left Chris’s legs paralysed and a wheelchair user – he knew he had a major challenge to contend with to achieve his dreams.

His disability, however, did not become an excuse for him to give up on his dreams and he went on to have a successful business career before going on to launch SchoolMates. Some 32 years on, since his life-changing diagnosis, his dream is becoming a reality.

Derby-born Chris never wanted his disability to be an excuse for giving up on his dreams. In fact, if anything, it motivated him even more and drove him to achieve his goal of launching SchoolMates. He said: “I don’t like talking about my disability or my ambition, but if I can motivate one person, I feel it will have been worthwhile.”

Chris added: “With SchoolMates, we believe we have created a truly exciting and simple way for old school and college friends, aged 35 and over, to reconnect with each other. We want SchoolMates to become ‘the place’ for these friends to keep in touch.”

The site requires very little information from new subscribers and is free to join – subscribers simply need to enter their name, email and password and then the school name as well as the years attended. Users then receive an email to alert them when other students from their year sign up.

To register visit: www.schoolmates.co.uk