The top young business and professional men in Wales 2020

Here are the top young business and professional men in Wales in 2020.

The men on the list come from a variety of backgrounds and industries, from food and leisure to tech start-ups. They are making their mark in business across the whole of Wales, but with an impact that goes well beyond.

This year the WalesOnline 35 Under 35 is sponsored by Helo Blod. Helo Blod is a free, fast and friendly Welsh translation and advice service that can help you use more Welsh in your business.

Eluned Morgan, Minister for International Relations and the Welsh Language, said: “Young entrepreneurs are the lifeblood and future of our economy and business in Wales, which is why we’re really happy to support the 70 entrepreneurs on their journey to success.

“Helo Blod is just one more step on our journey towards doubling the daily use of Welsh by 2050.

“Using just a little Cymraeg in your business means more than just words. It helps businesses spread their messages further, turns customers into regulars and brings communities together.

“Pob lwc to each and every one of you on your business journey – we hope Helo Blod can help you too.”

WalesOnline editor Paul Rowland said: “Since its launch in 2014 many of those who have made the lists, for both men and women, have gone on to achieve even greater success.

“The WalesOnline 35 Under 35 continues to be a great platform to showcase the rising stars in the Welsh economy and each year the number of entrants continues to grow, even with the challenges the economy has faced this year from the pandemic.”

Here are the 35, not listed in any particular order. The list of 35 businesswomen will be revealed next week.

1. Sina Yamani, CEO, Yoello, 25

After graduating in 2017 with a degree in computer science, Sina Yamani went on to work for Brushbox and Alpacr, before launching Yoello, an FCA-authorised app-less mobile ordering solution that looks to provide a seamless customer experience.

The Cardiff company believes the platform has played a huge role in the survival of the hospitality sector in 2020. Mr Yamani also sits on the advisory panel for FinTech Wales.

2. Jack Lear, Bodysocks and BargainFox.com, 27



Ross Miner standing in front of a fence: Jack invested £500,000 to rent the biggest warehouse he could afford in Pembroke Dock


© Claudia Belli/BargainFox.com
Jack invested £500,000 to rent the biggest warehouse he could afford in Pembroke Dock

Jack Lear had just ordered 200,000 costumes for his Pembrokeshire-based fancy-dress business Bodysocks when the pandemic broke.

Knowing that his business was going to be hit hard, Mr Lear invested £500,000 to launch BargainFox.com.

BargainFox initially stocked beard trimmers but has now expanded the range to more than 50,000 different products across everything from household goods to baby products to sport and leisure gear.

Within seven months he is expecting to hit turnover close to £2.5m.

3. Joe Edwards, Filmage.co.uk, 33

Over the past five years, videographer Joe Edwards has grown his business from doing small local shoots for bands and local businesses to working for the BBC, Chester Zoo, Arts Council of Wales, the National Lottery, and many other high-profile clients.

Mr Edwards has also become a Big Ideas Wales role model and a creative practitioner, meaning he goes into schools to try to inspire young people to realise their dreams of becoming film-makers.

During lockdown Mr Edwards, who is based in Wrexham, joined forces with another local film-maker and they are now looking into 360 VR e-learning for schools, starting with a fully animated virtual zoo.

4. Trystan Davies, Proactive First Aid Solutions, 34

Trystan Davies started Proactive First Aid Solutions on his own three years ago. Since then, he has built up a team who are all emergency medical technicians and paramedics who can draw on their experiences when teaching courses or providing medical care at events, concerts, venues and university campuses.

As a fluent Welsh-speaker Mr Davies has been able to develop courses in English and Welsh, which has led to work with Welsh schools and TV. The Cardiff-based company also works closely with the nightlife venues in giving free catastrophic bleed kits because of the rise in knife crime they have seen from their medical work.

5. Scott Jones, Managing Director, Illustrate Digital, 29



a man wearing glasses: Scott Jones, managing director at Illustrate Digital


© Illustrate Digital
Scott Jones, managing director at Illustrate Digital

Scott Jones launched Illustrate Digital in 2013, one of the UK and Europe’s leading WordPress and WooCommerce agencies. Their clients include Hodge Bank, Ladybird Education, and National Theatre Wales.

He set up the Cardiff company as he was frustrated with the way tech and creative industries operated. He wanted an agency that would exist to empower others to be different and drive results. Mr Jones is also a board member of FinTech Wales with aims to help upskill the financial services industry in Wales.

6. Peter Rogers, TownSq, 28

Peter Rogers is the community manager at TownSq, the Wrexham Enterprise Hub, and is responsible for the day-to-day running of the hub and managing its community of more than 500 staff and business owners.

The Hub has sought to become a focal point of the Wrexham community, supporting local businesses and playing a growing role in trying to revitalise the high street. With Mr Rogers’ support, businesses fostered at the hub have gone on to be recognised at numerous industry awards, including the Great British Entrepreneur Awards and the Wales Startup Awards.

7. Haroon Danis, Skin HQ, 33

Haroon Danis says that a childhood as one of only a few Asian people on Anglesey helped him become the businessman he is today.

Mr Danis’ objective was to make people feel happy about their own skin.

It led him to enter the non-surgical skincare market and sell affordable skin treatments.

His company’s chain of skin clinics with “gym-style” memberships has seen Skin HQ in the top 1{ceedb287d77e8cde5bf2878339831566d6a2b6f7559fed38ec8bb489262cb257} of UK businesses for growth according to the UK Scale-up Institute.

8. Phillipe Mele, My Procurement, 35

Phillipe Mele is the managing director of My Procurement, a business that supports SMEs by looking to help them reduce costs across their supply chains.

Under Mr Mele’s leadership, the business, which runs out of Welsh ICE in Caerphilly, has grown, securing numerous contracts in a range of industries including the UK aerospace sector. In the next few months the business will release its procurement platform, which is expected to significantly grow the business.

9. Jackson Jones, Athlete Kitchen, 33

 

Jackson Jones is the founder and MD of Athlete Kitchen (AK). He started the business with his brother after being frustrated by what he felt was a lack of diversity and quality in diet and meal preparation services.

Mr Jones wanted to create a meal prep service that wasn’t just chicken, rice and broccoli that tasted like it had been cooked to death or never met a seasoning in its lifetime, and so he founded AK .

Starting three years ago from a small unit in Cardiff with two chefs, Mr Jones has grown the business into a team of 24, exporting fresh pre-prepared meals across the UK, as well as opening four physical stores and restaurants. Mr Jones plans to increase their wholesale offering, open two further restaurants across south Wales, and further develop AK Kids, offering healthy and convenient children’s meals.

10. Geryn Evans, Project Blu, 35

   

Geryn Evans will be 36 in a month so he just squeaks into the class of 2020.

Since Project Blu, based in Dinas Powys, started trading in May 2019 the company has converted six million plastic bottles into a variety of pet products. Mr Evans founded the company with an aim to reduce global ocean-bound plastic waste, and reduce the environmental impact of pet products through several technologies. It is the first global pet brand to offer a full range of sustainable accessories.

The Dinas Powys-based company picked up the overall award, along with Global Start-Up and Green Start-Up at the 2020 Wales Start-Up Awards.

11. Sam Gibson, Enjovia, 32

Sam Gibson is the managing director of Newport-based Enjovia, which helps customers to sell more gift vouchers, tickets and merchandise.

The business is purpose-built for hotels, spas and restaurants to increase revenues. Enjovia offers a secure personalised platform from which to sell monetary, spa, dining, accommodation and other experience gift vouchers. Clients include the chairman of Cardiff City, Vincent Tan, and his tourism and hospitality interests in Malaysia.

A smart focus on inboard marketing has ensured Enjovia, a start-up that came out of the Alacrity Foundation graduate entrepreneurship stable,  has stayed ahead of the global competition in terms of marketplace awareness.

12. James Graham, Suppliety, 32

James Graham is the co-founder of B2B food and beverage sourcing platform, Suppliety. The Cardiff-based business looks to support local food and beverage outlets by connecting them with local suppliers, cutting out the middlemen, saving money, supporting regional economies, and improving quality through fresh produce with minimal food miles.

Pivoting during the Covid-19 restrictions, where many food outlets had to close, the business launched another service called Communiti which will use its connections and infrastructure with local suppliers to allow businesses to set up reward incentives for staff, letting them shop in bulk for better-priced higher-quality food and beverages. The business plans to expand across the UK and beyond, with potential partner businesses in Canada.

13. Scott Davies, Hilltop Honey, 31

In 2011 young beekeeper Scott Davies started Hilltop Honey. The Newtown-based business has grown exponentially over the past nine years and was listed as number 20 in the Fast Growth 50 2020 with a growth of almost 200{ceedb287d77e8cde5bf2878339831566d6a2b6f7559fed38ec8bb489262cb257} between 2017 and 2019.

Mr Davies says the brand of pure and natural honey has an overall mission to help food consumers learn that “there’s more to honey”.

14. Alex Coldea, Dill, 22

Alex Coldea, a Swansea University computer science graduate from Romania, began operating his app, Dill, at the beginning of this year, building a platform that allows students and staff to skip the queues at university canteens by pre-ordering their meals online.

The concept was originally designed to reduce waiting-times for staff and students in their breaks, but since the coronavirus pandemic Mr Coldea has received positive feedback from universities who saw the benefits to the contactless function of the app and the click and collect service.

Dill will now be used at over 30 different food and drink venues across the UK, serving a market of more than 100,000 users across eight campuses.

15. Dr. Will Webberley, SimplyDoIdeas, 31

Dr Will Webberley is the chief technology officer and director at Cardiff-based technology company Simply Do Ideas. He built the Simply Do digital product from scratch and manages a team of in-house software engineers.

As director, he has been involved in two investment rounds with the company and it is set to grow rapidly during 2021.

At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr Webberley led the development team in creating additional functionality to enable the sourcing of PPE for the NHS, through a contract with the Life Sciences Hub Wales.

16. Steve Bollschweiler, Insight Video Marketing, 34

Steve Bollschweiler is the managing director of Insight Video Marketing, which provides video marketing content to businesses.

Founded in 2017 with nothing but a camera, Mr Bollschweiler has steadily grown the business, securing numerous clients and high-value projects, as well as taking on permanent members of staff.

The Caerphilly-based firm plans to bring on another full-time member of staff in the next six months as well as create an online training platform and diversify its offering with the production of numerous short-form and feature documentaries.

17. Scott James, Coaltown Coffee, 27



a man holding a cup of coffee on a table


© Jonathan Myers


While Scott James left school at 17 with no qualifications, it hasn’t stopped him building a coffee empire in west Wales.

The company has two cafes in Ammanford and was about to open two more before the pandemic hit. Fast-tracking its plans to redevelop its web shop, which was due to happen later this year anyway, Coaltown Coffee reported a 582{ceedb287d77e8cde5bf2878339831566d6a2b6f7559fed38ec8bb489262cb257} rise in sales in April 2020 based on the same month the previous year.

18. Stephen Thorp, a pesto, 35



a man using a laptop: Stephen Thorp runs a pesto wood-fired sourdough pizza company


© Nat Moore – The Photographer’s Table’
Stephen Thorp runs a pesto wood-fired sourdough pizza company

Based out of a street-food Airstream trailer at the Dolphin Inn, Mold, owner and pizzaiolo (pizza chef) Stephen Thorp opened for the first time in March, as the coronavirus pandemic took hold in the UK.

It was a bold move for the former Queens nurse and lecturer, but the wood-fired sourdough pizza business has quickly grown in popularity.

19. Joe Charman, Pilot Plus, 21



a man flying through the air on a cloudy day: Pilot Plus founder Joe Charman, 20, has engaged with the Big Ideas Wales service to develop his business network


© Tom Sparey Photography
Pilot Plus founder Joe Charman, 20, has engaged with the Big Ideas Wales service to develop his business network

Joe Charman launched Swansea-based Pilot Plus at the age of 16.

He has now completed his studies with the School of Management at Swansea University and will now take steps towards growing the business, along with his business partner, Jack Bengeyfield.

Pilot Plus replicates real-world airports in a digital 3D format aimed at pilot training.

The digital 3D replicas of the exterior of airport environments, including Gatwick, Bristol and Geneva, create a mock-up environment for users, as if navigating a plane through that particular airport in real life.

Six years since the launch of Pilot Plus, Mr Charman has more than 4,000 customers around the world, with its software being sold to flight schools, commercial pilots and aviation enthusiasts globally.

20. Callum Griffiths, Clydach Farm, 20



a person standing next to a lake: The 19-year-old runs a pet food business


© Callum Griffiths
The 19-year-old runs a pet food business

Despite only just leaving his teenage years behind, Callum Griffiths can already boast seven years of business experience. At 13 he started his company selling chickens at the local market and evolved the business into an award-winning pet food business.

Unhappy with the chicken feed on offer, Mr Griffiths studied livestock nutrition to develop Natural Layers Pellets from Clydach.

In 2016 he started to develop a range of foods for dogs.

Mr Griffiths’ products are now available in 300 stores in 12 countries worldwide. At the Great British Entrepreneur Awards Mr Griffiths was named Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year for Wales, and the previous year he was named Young Entrepreneur of the Year for Wales.

21. Connor Ennis, CaravanCloud, 23

Caravans are in Connor Ennis’ blood.

His grandfather was the founder of Llanelli’s Ennis Caravans, which became the largest caravan dealership in Wales and one of the first in the country.

Mr Ennis left school at 18 and worked for Tenby Tourers, his father’s business, before setting up his own business, CaravanCloud, in 2015.

Mr Ennis sees huge potential in caravan holidays, as people are increasingly looking at taking holidays in the UK, and this year has rebranded the business.

The website looks to simplify the buying and selling process of caravans and motorhomes, but also to make it easier to find a campsite, caravan park or glamping site.

22. Cameron Reardon, Bug Box UK, 19



Cameron with a Giant African Land Snail which usually cost around £70 each


© WalesOnline/Gayle Marsh
Cameron with a Giant African Land Snail which usually cost around £70 each

Cameron Reardon, who lives in Felinfoel, Llanelli, found a niche market for a new exotic insect store in Wales that could deliver to the UK and Europe.

Mr Reardon says he is now making around £5,000 a month selling exotic insects. Most insects are ordered as pets and are sent to buyers in countries such as the UK, Belgium and France.

No single-use plastic is used and delivery is done within 24 hours via a special “live animal” delivery method, to ensure the animals are safe.

He is looking to expand and franchise the business, and has an eye on the US market, as he says “loads of kids have pet tarantulas”.

23. Daniel O’Toole, Retail Merchandising Services, 32

Daniel O’Toole is building on the legacy of his late father Peter, who started the nationwide retail development business in 2005 but passed away 10 years later.

Newport-based RMS helps a host of high-street brands, including Boots and Sainsburys, to improve their customers’ shopping experiences. RMS works with 36 retail brands and has a 2,847-strong UK workforce.

At the start of October Mr O’Toole and his brother Connah invested £500,000 in the tech company UpriseVSI. The new funds will see UpriseVSI, which has renamed Flex Systems, develop its thinkBooker system.

24. Alex Lovén, Net World Sports, 33



a man holding a sign posing for the camera: Alex Loven, founder and CEO of Net World Sports


© Daily Post Wales
Alex Loven, founder and CEO of Net World Sports

Alex Lovén is the founder and chief executive of the Wrexham-based Net World Sports. The company has more than 5,000 products, 95{ceedb287d77e8cde5bf2878339831566d6a2b6f7559fed38ec8bb489262cb257} of which are its own brand, in a single 120,000 sq ft warehouse.

In the past year, while the company has sought to help its customers to stay fit and active from home during an otherwise unprecedented time, it has also grown its product range, with new brands including CosySpa Hot tubs, Metis Fitness products, and Harrier Luxury Garden Furniture.

25. Damian Burgess, Red Squirrel Marketing, 34

Damian Burgess runs Red Squirrel Marketing, which is based in Aberystwyth and Cardiff, with the aim of helping businesses all over Wales, the UK and overseas with their design and marketing needs.

Mr Burgess has worked with international brands as well as hundreds of small businesses and start-ups. He also offers free one-to-one sessions at Welsh ICE in Caerphilly every month.

26. Michael Pinocci, V3 Apparel, 31

Michael Pinocci, a 31-year-old former soldier from Ebbw Vale, launched the female sportswear firm V3 Apparel in 2015.

Mr Pinocci had been forced to leave the Army due to an injury and while suffering from depression he began reading motivation books. This led him to start V3 with his brother, and within five years it has grown into a global brand with one million followers on social media, sales in 90 countries, and sales partnerships with major retailers in six countries.

27. Ryan Walton, Aura Ads and Visaura, 23

Ryan Walton set up Visaura in his second year of university after realising the power of video marketing. While at university, he edited videos for a YouTube channel, and then after receiving a few million views, decided to set up Visaura in Cardiff.

He left university straight into his own company, and has now employed several people and is looking to expand. Some of Visaura’s clients include Amazon Prime, Alaska Airlines, the British Council, and Cardiff University.

Earlier in 2020, Mr Walton also set up his sister company, Aura Ads, which has a strong focus on e-commerce social media marketing. The company has generated its clients more than five million global views. Mr Walton is looking to expand into the US market, after helping clients based in America, Canada, Australia and mainland Europe.

28. Samuel Hurley, NOVOS, 29

Samuel Hurley is the founder of an e-commerce start-up based in London that says it is set to generate annual revenue of £1m in just under three years. Mr Hurley was born and brought up in Brynamman, studying at Cardiff University.

After working for some companies in London, he co-founded NOVOS in the city in 2018. The company has worked with more than 100 global e-commerce brands and boasts that it has helped generate more than £30m in revenue. During the pandemic the company has expanded the workforce by 50{ceedb287d77e8cde5bf2878339831566d6a2b6f7559fed38ec8bb489262cb257}.

29. Jarrad Morris, Inter Vehicle Group, 29

Jarrad Morris is the group managing director of Inter Vehicle Group. The company recently signed a deal to become a franchisee of the London Electric Vehicle Company covering all of Wales. The news meant there would be direct availability in Wales for the first time of LEVC’s TX electric taxi and its VN5 electric van. And the deal is seeing IVG create 15 new jobs in Cardiff through a £150,000 investment in specialist equipment and training.

Mr Morris also started GOiA this year, a new venture of IVG, which has ambitions to become the e-scooter equivalent of Nextbike. GOiA, based in Cardiff and Aberdare, is looking to create a UK-wide network, with an initial focus on Wales, of docking stations where people can hire e-scooters via an app.

30. Ben Smith, Lightning Solutions, 35

Shortly after completing his training and apprenticeship at Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council, Ben Smith started Lightning Solutions as a sole trader.

Lightning Solutions supports a number of local authorities and housing associations with reactive maintenance, callouts, and large- scale planned works. It also works on large-scale electrical projects for companies in the private sector across Wales and England, carrying out office fitouts.

The Merthyr-based firm has secured a number of public-sector contracts up until 2023 with a value of more than £7m.

31. Eben Lovatt, Moneyshake,



a man smiling for the camera: Eben Lovatt chief executive of Moneyshake. Picture Dominic Salter


© Dominic Salter
Eben Lovatt chief executive of Moneyshake. Picture Dominic Salter

Eben Lovatt is the CEO of the Newport-based online car-leasing market Moneyshake.

With the popularity of car leasing expecting to rise as people desire new cars more frequently, leasing is seen as the future of car ownership. Typical leases range between 18 and 36 months, with vehicles handed back to the leasing providers at the end of a contract.

Moneyshake recently had a £500,000 equity investment provided by the Development Bank of Wales and serial entrepreneur Tim Scholes, a private investor and experienced strategy professional.

32. Dafydd Loughran, Concentric Health, 31

Dafydd Loughran is the co-founder and CEO of Concentric Health. Mr Loughran, a trained surgeon who lives in Cardiff, co-founded the digital consent platform with the aim of personalising outcomes, simplifying medical complexity and informing patients about the decisions that affect them.

The company, which is run out of Tramshed in Cardiff, says that published evidence demonstrates that patients engaged in shared decisions often make less invasive decisions, leading to both better outcomes aligned with their priorities, and projected savings of up to £11.6bn a year across the NHS.

33 & 34. George Smithies and Aaron Vousden, InnDex, 28 & 30

InnDex was founded in 2018 by George Smithies and Aaron Vousden, both civil engineers with extensive construction industry experience.

They started the company due to their frustrations regarding what they felt was a lack of innovation and the adoption of digital tools in the industry.

The key issues they wanted to help fix were the lack of automation and collaboration, plus poor record- keeping. Its customers range in size from micro-companies employing fewer than five people to large multi-national construction companies.

Along with its Beaumaris HQ, Inndex has offices in London and India.

35. Andy Moore, Evertrek, 35

Andy Moore is the founder and CEO of Caerphilly-based adventure travel company Evertrek. The business specialises in high-altitude trekking and climbing on some of the big “bucket list” trips, including Everest Base Camp, Kilimanjaro and Machu Picchu.

The business has seen rapid growth recently and despite the Covid-19 restrictions, which have severely hampered tourism, the business has continued to thrive, increasing revenue to more than £2.8m in 2020. Evertrek expects to continue this, with more than 90 trips already booked for the next three years.