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Flashback to 2007: Catching up with Lucy Cohen and Sophie Hughes

Wed, 04 December 2013

In 2007 Lucy and Sophie won the Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year Wales Final with their business, Mazuma UK Ltd. We caught up with them to find out how the business is doing.
What can you remember about your involvement with Shell LiveWIRE?
Our first involvement with Shell LiveWIRE was when we entered the Wales regional competition in 2007. We had only been trading for just under a year and the whole business world was new and scary to us! I remember us being very intimidated by all the other businesses that had entered and then being utterly thrilled when we won! It still goes down as one of the best moments in our business; I think that it was at that point we thought “Yes! We can do this!”
 
Lucy and Sophie with their award in 2007
 
How have things changed for you since you won your Shell LiveWIRE award?
Since winning the Shell LiveWIRE award our business has grown considerably. When we won it was just the two of us working from a tiny one-room office in Cardiff. Now we employ over 20 staff in our head office in South Wales and provide our service all across the UK. In 2011 we also launched in the USA with our US office in Salt Lake City which is growing steadily too. We’ve gone on to win many other awards and have been awarded our Investors in People award for our staff development procedures.
 
How have you had to adapt as an entrepreneur over the years?
In our industry we are used to things constantly changing so we enjoy the challenges of adapting to new situations. However, the world as an entrepreneur is very different to what it was when we started in business! In just a few short years we’ve seen social media become a huge marketing and communication tool for our business, we’ve completely changed the way that we win new business which in turn has affected the demographic of our client base and subsequently the sort of services that we provide. I think it’s always crucial to not only adapt, but to try to remain ahead of the curve as an entrepreneur – innovate, don’t replicate!
 
What has been the biggest obstacle you have overcome in business?
One of the biggest obstacles that we personally had to overcome was our age when we started the business. We were both very young and our credibility and experience was often questioned or doubted. Combine that with the fact that we operate in a very male-dominated industry and we had a real challenge on our hands! But we’ve never been scared of challenging stereotypes so we just embraced it!
 
What are your top three tips for a young entrepreneur who is about to set up in business?

Stop prevaricating and just get on with it! You’ll never be 100% ready; sometimes you just have to leap in with both feet!
 
You can’t do everything. Outsource the things that you can and free up your time to concentrate on running your business, not doing admin.
 
Focus! It’s easy to get distracted – lots of businesses focus on trying to get new entrepreneurs signed up for all kinds of things that are supposed to help your business but unfortunately they are often just after your cash or your contacts. We’d advise that you focus hard on what you want your business to achieve and question the motives of those who try to distract you from your goals!
 
Shell LiveWIRE UK has been running for over 30 years. If you have been involved with the programme at any point and would like to share your story, please contact the team at

 


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