Cardiff Metropolitan University graduate, Caryl Thomas, has been named Young Entrepreneur of the Year at the recent South Wales Business Awards.
Former International Business Management student Caryl graduated last year with a First Class Honours Degree, and it was during her final year that she established her own cleaning company, after benefitting from business advice from Cardiff Met's Centre for Student Entrepreneurship.
Sparkles Cleaning Services provides both domestic and commercial services, tailored to suit the people and businesses in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot.
Caryl, 23 from Briton Ferry, said: "I'd always envisaged setting up my own company, but never knew how. By studying business management I knew I could acquire the correct skills and learn what was needed. With the world as it is and everything going global, I thought enrolling on the international course would be sensible and provide more options for expansion in the future. I would love to make Sparkles a national company."
The university's Centre for Student Entrepreneurship aims to help support students who are interested in starting a business as well as developing their entrepreneurial skills, to assist them in securing further employment.
Every student and graduate with an interest in start-up businesses can access one-to-one support and is allocated a dedicated Business Start-up Manager. It was Caryl's Business Start-Up Manager, Lee Sharma, who signposted her to the Big Ideas Wales Challenge and subsequent awards, which were held at The Bear Hotel in Cowbridge and recognised her business acumen.
She said: "I'm thrilled to have won the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award and am extremely excited for the opportunities this award will bring for my business."
Speaking of her time at Cardiff Met, Caryl mentioned three teachers in particular helped and inspired her to set up Sparkles Cleaning Services; Lecturer in Business French Sylvia Beresford, Senior Lecturer Sian Taylor and Programme Director Esperanza Tevar.
Caryl continued: "Due to the ever increasing demand for Sparkles services I am about to take on three members of staff. I have taken my time before hiring employees as I studied contract law during my course and have heard horror stories about contracts not being written correctly. Because of what I was taught at Cardiff Met, I have ensured everything has been done as it should be and I can't wait to take the company to the next level."
Andrew Walker, Director of External Engagement at Cardiff Met, added: "It is always gratifying to hear of a former student going on to achieve such success and really utilise the skills and knowledge they have built up during their time with us. Caryl had a dream of starting her own business and did her research into what was required in order to achieve this goal. With hard work, determination and a professional outlook throughout her studies Caryl is exactly where she wants to be with further aspirations of growing her business. We wish her the best of luck with everything in what we have no doubt will be a bright future."