A Chat with CEO Oliver Chapman, Class of 2006

Oliver Chapman, Class of 2006, has been an entrepreneur since his teens. He’s the founder and CEO of OCI, pioneers of the commercial process outsourcing space and the number one fastest-growing UK company.

My entrepreneurial journey isn’t your run-of-the-mill story. Whilst I was at university, MAC Cosmetics was becoming the next big thing – but it wasn’t so easy to get hold of products like these. So I started an export and import business, which I formalised after graduating.

Cosmetics was a fickle market. I was keen to move into an area that intrigued me and was rising in popularity: sustainable products. I was particularly interested in the automotive space, and non-recyclable tyres. Outside of work, I love anything that moves and goes fast! But I’m also fascinated by how things operate, whether it be a business or a motor. That passion led me to team up with a company in India, who had the rights for a technology that converts second-hand tyres into their core components, oil and steel.

It was a success, but I didn’t know what I was doing! I was in my early twenties, and completely out of my depth. We created a whole new market and quickly became the world’s largest mover of rubber, exporting 200 containers every week at our peak. I went to conduct business in many exotic locations like Malaysia, Pakistan and India to meet large corporates. I’ll be honest, I used to lie about my age back then – I was so afraid that I wouldn’t be taken seriously!


I eventually moved into other trades. Sustainability remained a key area of interest for me, so I investigated what materials companies were paying governments to put in the ground – like various plastic waste materials – but which could be recycled. However, international trade was becoming obsolete. The role of trader is difficult to perform now that a factory in China can directly contact a buyer in the USA, for example.

I then set up OCI. As a procurement partner we were the first to develop commercial process outsourcing to manage the complex nature of the supply chain. In a nutshell, we provide solutions – such as contract negotiations and locating new factories. We also recognise that a lot of businesses have a fantastic idea but don’t have the funds to get it off the ground; OCI can provide the finance as well as the structure. We’ve been going 10 years now, and it’s a bright future ahead.


Cheadle Hulme School taught me a big lesson: you don’t have to be an academic. I was always comparing myself to those A* high-flyers, and it wasn’t healthy. But I’m glad I had the determination to push through negativity and the capability to succeed. It’s made me who I am today.

My advice is to laugh at those who tell you that you can’t do something. I wonder what happens to those kids that get knocked back and don’t get up? When I was 12, someone asked me what I wanted to be. I said, “a pilot,” and they said I wasn’t intelligent enough. Well, 20 years on, and I’m buying a helicopter! Sure, I’m not a commercial pilot, but I’m achieving the dream of 12-year-old me, who genuinely believed it would never happen. You have to laugh at those who say you can’t, rather than taking their word as gospel. Find out if you can do something yourself.

It’s important to give back as an Old Waconian. I love to spread the word of entrepreneurship because kids can think outside the box, are ridiculously creative, and can actually be incredibly enterprising. It’s not just about school and sums – I believe if you have the right attitude, charisma and focus, then that’s your ‘calculator’ for life.