Accolade launches graduate on road to business success
A Glyndŵr University graduate is taking the business world by storm after being named among the top young entrepreneurs in Wales.
Shaun Roberts started online marketing agency Creative Catalysts at the age of 19 with support from the Wrexham-based institution.
Specialising in in web design, marketing and SEO, Shaun has worked on projects for organisations across the region, including the Woodland Trust.
A graduate in Computer Network Management and Security and self-confessed “computer geek”, the 23-year-old is now studying for a PhD in Context Aware Computing and is forging close links with some of the area’s top companies.
Among them is Mike Scott, of Mike Scott Associates (pictured with Shaun), providing mentoring and support to the Big Ideas Wales role model.
That said, having featured in WalesOnline’s ’35 young men making their mark in business’ list recently, Shaun is now the one offering out advice to other up-and-coming entrepreneurs.
So what motivated him to go into business as a teenager?
“When I was 14 I attended a Careers Wales event to inspire young entrepreneurs to work on their ideas,” he said.
“I immediately got the ‘business bug’ but it was five years later, after taking a Go Wales placement at the university, that I felt I had gained the confidence and knowledge I needed to start my own business.”
Shaun added: “When I started out I had a very broad view on how it may evolve; two years down the line the company has held true to its original aim.
“I provide a service which supports other new or growing businesses, I gain a great deal of satisfaction working with them, their business and providing them with an online marketing strategy that meets their needs.
“However, the most important thing about being my own boss is how much I enjoy it. The whole process of business just fascinates me, from the strategic planning for the future of the company to working with a very broad client base - every stage within my business is a passion-filled exercise.”
Shaun feels his youth and inexperience was an advantage rather than a barrier, and wishes he’d taken the plunge even earlier.
“When you start a business there are always some things you wish you’d have known beforehand, but you just learn and move forward,” he added.
“Mistakes are sometimes inevitable and doesn’t mean your business will fail, it’s all part of the entrepreneurial journey.”
Looking ahead, Glyndŵr University continues to play a big part in Shaun’s life.
He works closely with the careers team and Zone enterprise hub, offering support and tips to other young entrepreneurs.
“Anyone can start a business, it can be on a very small scale or you can become a big international player, you just need the confidence to believe in yourself and surround yourself with positive people,” said Shaun.
“Seek advice and support from a wide variety of sources and apply for opportunities such as the Big Ideas Challenge, make use of your enterprise champion at your college/university and attend any networking events. Being young can be an advantage rather than a disadvantage and there is so much support to tap into.”
Mike Corcoran, Zone Enterprise Hub Manager, added: “Throughout his time as a student of Glyndŵr University, Shaun is someone who we have come to know very well.
“His enthusiasm and passion for business have allowed him to take full advantage of the vast range of support on offer to him here, and as his business has taken off, it has been a privilege to see Shaun giving back to young entrepreneurs in the community.”
For more information on Creative Catalysts, visit www.creativecatalysts.co.uk
For more on Zone, call 01978 293297, or visit www.glyndwr.ac.uk