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Home » BIP Entrepreneurs

Talking shop: Inside the mind of Future 100 Entrepreneur Shaun Gurmin

Shaun Gurmin is a busy man. Between studying for degree and starting and running two businesses of his own you’d think there wasn’t much time left to do much else. Shaun is just about to start his third business and has recently made the Future 100 Awards for Young Entrepreneurs list. The BIP caught up with Shaun for a rare few free minutes to find out just how he got where he is and his plans for the future.

Tell us a bit about how you got to where you are today?
The success that I have today has required me to put a lot of work in in the past and I’m still working hard today to continually improve.

During the second year of my BA Hons Business Management degree I successfully launched two businesses and undertook a Management Consultancy project.

I am currently in the third year and am undertaking the Chartered Institute of Marketing Professional Diploma in Marketing; ensuring the Success of my three businesses; have recently set-up the West Midlands Business Network, and am planning my next business venture – a Real Estate Investment Business; and I am doing all this while on work placement at the University of Wolverhampton.

What was it or when was it that you decided you wanted to do things on your own rather than work for someone else?

I am an innovative person, bit of a perfectionist and a strong acumen for strategy! These things have naturally led me to the path that is most challenging and allows me to use my expertise and knowledge most effectively.

Business is one of two ways to reach financial freedom; the other is investing. Some people would attribute this to a higher level of risk; however, a lot of jobs that were previously thought to safe, such as public sector jobs are now under threat. In this day and age, there is no security – just varying degrees of risk. Understanding this has led me to realise that becoming an employer is not any riskier than being an employee, and when considering the upside opportunities, the value of becoming an employer far outweighs being an employee. Being responsible for one’s own business one can ensure the outcome as opposed to an employer performing badly and having to make people redundant to cut costs – even if they have worked exceptionally hard.

Tell us a bit about your businesses

CHARGE is a Multi-Award Winning Social Enterprise, recently ranked as a Top 100 UK Business by Striding Out. Our aim is to improve students experience, networking and CV; thereby enhancing their employability. is another business which I founded alongside CHARGE. It is a business facilitation service for construction professionals. We ensure our members reach a significantly wider audience, generating a greater numbers of leads through our extensive promotional network.

The West Midlands Business Network is the number-one Business Network for the West Midlands region. Within two months of going live it grew to over 600 members and is continuing to rapidly grow in size due to the quality content shared in terms of events, news, and opportunities.

Where would you like to see your businesses in five years’ time?

I would like to see them delighting even more customers, educational organisations and businesses and see them using even more innovative methods to benefit local communities. And I would like to see them continuing to adapt to the environment, so that we continue to effectively cater for the needs of all of our stakeholders.

How did you get involved with the SPEED program and how has it helped in starting your own business?

I got involved in the SPEED program partly down to a stroke of good fortune when I walked into a room and asked for directions to a particular workshop taking place that day.

The SPEED program was a fantastic experience and I learned a great deal from it. I learned from the on-going mentorship, consultancy and bi-monthly seminars on various business matters.There are financial benefits, and most importantly to me, was how it boosts one’s network and business acumen.

You’ve won several awards over the last few years, how do these affect your businesses?

I have won many awards over the past few years and this year I won the Roger Jones Creativity Award and the 2010 Innovation Award.

These awards have enabled me to demonstrate my expert skills and enhance my credibility. I am not a self-proclaimed expert in creativity and innovation but this has been recognised thanks to these awards and my business successes.

You’ve recently been named as one of the Future 100 Young Entrepreneurs for 2010 tell us a bit about why you were nominated and what this means to you.

The Future 100 Awards encourage and reward extraordinary vision, ethical business practice and social responsibility. They aim to showcase businesses that offer innovative and sustainable solutions to social problems.

I was ranked as one of The Top 100 UK Entrepreneurs because of being the founder and leader of CHARGE and helping students, employers, academic institutions/organisations and charities and enhancing the regional economy.

What’s the best piece of business advice that anyone’s ever given you?

One piece of advice I was given by an experienced entrepreneur was to make the most of the opportunity and to make mistakes and learn from them. So what if your business fails? Your next one will be even better than your first, and the next one after that will be even better again.

Essentially, treat it as a learning experience- one that teaches lessons money could never buy. Over time wisdom shall enable more fruitful outcomes.

What’s the best thing about doing business in the West Midlands?

One of the best things about doing business in the West Midlands is benefiting the people and the local economy. It is rewarding knowing that we are helping and creating opportunities for people, businesses and organisations.

And finally, if you could go back and do one thing differently since you started out on your own, what would it be and why?

Since I started, I have learned a lot of things. However, the most powerful thing I would do if I could go back would be to systemise my businesses sooner.

By systemising my businesses early on, I would quickly develop them into franchise models. This would have enabled me to recruit earlier, ensure the creation of consistent results, and make expansion much easier.

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