Archive for June, 2015

Simon Powell, Eysys

It was our last Breakfast Club of the season and we were joined by established Welsh entrepreneur, Simon Powell. Simon is currently the chairman and investor of four businesses in the travel and technology sectors, as well as the Managing Director of Powell Property Developments LTD, Founder of Travel.co.uk and CEO of Comtec Group. He has a wealth of experience, not only in setting up successful businesses, but also in turning around struggling businesses.

Simon began by stressing that, when setting up a business, it’s important to define what people want from it in terms of success. From something small and simple like running a successful corner shop to owning a fast car or becoming a billionaire, he believes that success is relative and what is most important is that people can define what it means to them and have a chance of achieving it.

He went on to list the things that he has done throughout his business career that most helped him to achieve his own success, in particular sharing equity. Simon recommended Finance Wales as an investor, but also advised potential entrepreneurs to share equity with their employees; “I think it is important to share equity, not just with financial institutions…but with the teams that are going to drive things.”

Simon also emphasised the importance of putting together a strong team to work together on the business, and making decisions quickly, fixing any wrong ones as soon as possible. He admitted that there are ‘no straight roads in business’ and that there will be bad days, but the important thing is to remain focused. He sees that his role in all of his businesses is to create opportunities, push through decisions, and make and maintain relationships.

Evidence of Simon’s theories being put into practice can be seen in his recent reacquisition of Comtec in October 2014. After a loss of £5m last year, the business is now projecting an Ebitda of £1.4m for this year.Breakfast Club

Simon is passionate about finding the next generation of talented young people to work in technology and highlighted the importance of working with schools to help inspire children to pursue a career within the tech industry. In particular, he talked about the huge potential within Wales and Welsh schools to produce skilled tech professionals, but emphasised the fact that not enough is being done to achieve this with current tech courses not tailored to business.

Simon concluded his talk by encouraging graduates who are thinking about setting up their own businesses to go for it, stating that there is lots of funding available and that “if you’re passionate and committed, you can do it”.

Dates and speakers for the autumn will be announced soon. For further information and booking details, please contact Danielle@petersenspr.com or phone 02920 549597.

Today we welcome Caroline Hodges, who has joined us for a three month placement. We asked Caroline to write a short blog to introduce herself…

Caroline HodgesLike a lot of young people I spent most of my time at university with no definitive idea of what I was going to do as a career after I finished. My initial dreams of a career in law were abandoned after spending my first year at university struggling to remember case lists, make sense of judicial decisions and generally not fall asleep from boredom and substituted for aspirations of working as a journalist. I transferred to a degree in Journalism Media and Cultural Studies and began to work on my writing and on building up my journalistic portfolio. It was during a work experience placement with a local newspaper that I first became properly aware of PR and its importance; whenever I was asked to write a piece I would be sent a press release and simply asked to reorganise it. I realised increasingly that the people who were writing the press releases were the ones creating the news, not the journalists.

This was confirmed for me when I took advertising and PR modules as part of my degree and began to look at the industry from an academic perspective – the changing face of media means that PR professionals and the work that they do is becoming increasingly important and exciting as it adapts to the digital and social media age. My strengths have always been in writing and communication and my favourite aspect of every part-time job I’ve had has been building relationships with customers. I decided that a career where I could build on those existing skills while helping to create content and to be a part of an exciting and developing industry would be the perfect fit for me so I began to pursue a career in PR. I feel extremely lucky to have been offered this placement with Petersens as the opportunity to gain experience and learn about the industry from an award-winning firm is something a lot of recent graduates would kill for and I know that it will be invaluable to me moving forward.

Everybody at Petersens is extremely friendly and welcoming and any nerves that I had disappeared within minutes of arriving. After attending a team meeting I was talked through the main clients and the kinds of work Petersens does for them, and given the chance to look through portfolios containing press releases. Learning about the clients that I will be working with and the kinds of work I will have the chance to get involved with was both interesting and very exciting. I can’t wait to get started and I’m very confident that I’m going to enjoy my time with Petersens.