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Cymraeg

Passion for sport proves an award winner

12 November 2007

A School of Psychology graduate who followed his dream of starting a sports training company for young people, is celebrating becoming a start up business of the year.

James Taylor’s company Sportstars Wales has been named as the NatWest Startups Awards Business of the Year just 18 months after starting the business with money from a birthday gift.

SportsStars, which benefited from the support of an entrepreneurship scholarship from the Knowledge Exploitation Fund, also took home the Community Impact Award for the business’s contribution to tackling childhood obesity through increased physical activity.

James and his team offer sports coaching for children during school holidays and provides cover for teachers during the compulsory planning, preparation and assessment work time. The company also runs sports coaching sessions during term time and works with parents to offer after school and weekend events across 15 different sports.

The 24-year old entrepreneur, who has grown the company and won other awards, including Shell Live Wire Young Entrepreneur of the Year Wales, 2006, said: "I feel amazing and so proud. I wanted to show that you can go out there and grow a highly successful business making lots of money whilst doing something extremely positive within the community at the same time. It’s great to be able to show people that people like me can go out there and chase their dreams."

The judging panel which included Martin Webb, presenter, Channel 4’s Risking It All; Sahar Hashemi, co-founder, Coffee Republic and Oli Barrett, founder, Make Your Mark With a Tenner, commented: "SportStars proved it was entirely possible to start and run an ethically sound, community-minded business while remaining unapologetically focused on revenues and profit."

James will be revealing how he made his entrepreneurial dream come true during a series of special seminars at the University soon.

Dr Catherine Bushell, Entrepreneurship Officer at Cardiff University said: "James is the latest in a long history of dynamic and entrepreneurial people to have graduated from the University.

"It will be great to be able to welcome him back to act as a mentor and share his success and enthusiasm with other young people thinking of embarking on a business venture."

To encourage other like minded young entrepreneurs, Cardiff University is marking Enterprise Week this week (12-16 November). Organised by the Research and Commercial Division to encourage entrepreneurial spirit and innovation among students at the University, it is a chance to learn how to think differently, be creative and put enterprising ideas into practice.

This year, Enterprise Week will also see the launch of a business idea challenge, which gives Cardiff University students the chance to enter to win up to £1000 to help develop their business idea.