Samantha Rutter-Bryant.

CEO, Open Study College

"At the young age of 19, Samantha launched Open Study College with her father, Mark, and other family members, after identifying a gap in the market for fully supported distance learning. Accessible education was the goal for Open Study College. 

 With many obstacles in her way, Samantha was faced with adversity due in part to being a young female growing and leading a successful business from the ground up. Her young age caused people to question if she could help run the company effectively, but Samantha wanted to make a real difference and has proved that no matter what gender or age you are, you can do anything you put your mind to.

 Samantha is passionate about championing women in the workplace and supporting them in achieving their full potential. At Open Study College, women make up 60% of the workforce, with 50% of the senior management team being female, as well as over 70% of learners. As part of Samantha’s long term business strategy, she hopes to provide more opportunities for women to progress, especially in senior roles. 

 Today, Samantha’s business offers over 700 courses across a broad spectrum of disciplines from accounting and bookkeeping to animal care and counselling, all designed for people to study from home, fitting education around busy lives. Since 2007, more than 110,000 people across the UK and beyond have enrolled at Open Study College and gone on to improve their futures with new career opportunities thanks to the qualifications gained online. 

 As a family-owned and run business, Samantha ensures that family values are at the core of everything she does. She is a great believer in a business being the sum of its parts and is of the opinion that she wouldn’t be where she is today without each one of her team members; it’s important to Samantha that each member of her team feels valued.

 This family ethos extends to the local community where Samantha is involved with smaller charities that desperately need support and exposure. Just recently in December 2022, she organised a charity drive and collected hundreds of items to deliver to local food banks, in addition to supporting colleagues in donating gifts for the elderly who would be spending Christmas alone. This is just one example of Samantha’s effort to give back. The business also makes an annual donation to local cancer charity, Help Harry Help Others, who they have been supporting since 2018."