Kindly sponsored by Dragon Taxis, the Young Business Person of the Year was won by Matthew Griffin. Matthew owns and runs Lumberjack Axe Throwing in Cardiff. We quizzed him on the whys and hows of running a business.

1.     Why did you enter the Wales STEM Awards?

I had no idea when applying if my career and business knowledge was anything exceptional and I wanted to see how I compared to others in the business community, I had no expectations of winning the award. I felt honoured to just be short listed, let alone win the award.

2.     What does winning a Cardiff Business Award mean to your business?

It was amazing to have the stamp on my business, it shows that my company and team are completely capable and competent in what we do. We are a team of young individuals and we believe that having the award gives us proof that we are passionate and driven when it comes to business.

3.     How do you strive to make a difference in the Cardiff Business market?

As a new sport to come to wales, we have been fortunate enough to introduce the sport in a way we feel assists the community in the best way possible. Due to the nature of the sport and how it solely relies of technic, we are able to host in a way that does not segregate individuals due to the gender, age and athletic capabilities. As the owner, if an individual with a disability which we haven’t had the opportunity to host before comes through our doors, then I personally will take the sessions. This allows me to work with the individuals to find technics that work best for themselves. I then will pass the knowledge learnt down to my team. From this I am hoping to include everyone in the same sport with no barriers which we believe will be unique to our sport. We are currently in contact and working with a number of charities and organisations to make this happen.

4.     What are your goals for the next 12 months?

We are hoping that we will start being able to open up again in these early months of 2021. Cardiff has provided us the best kind of clientele that you can have in business and we can’t wait to have our regulars and new clientele throwing again. We are currently using this restricted period to ensure everything is in place for the future growth and expansion of Lumberjack Axe Throwing Ltd.

5.     What is the biggest lesson you have learned in the past year as a company?

 For me that’s an extremely hard list to narrow down. Last year was definitely the hardest and most changing so far. 2020 was a year where I found myself running two companies, finished my degree and worked frontline in the nightingale project in Cardiff. There where periods where my work and studies meant I had to go up to 40 hours no sleep to keep on top of things that had to be done. From last years I now have a better understanding on what I’m capable of as well as see first hand on what we all as society are capable of. I had the privilege of working alongside some amazing individuals in the NHS which has given me a strong appreciation towards the work that all the frontline and key workers have been doing throughout this pandemic. These experiences has created a foundation to how I now run the company, my experiences from 2020 and the relocation to a more suitable premise has allowed me to rethink every aspect of lumberjack to ensure that every element operates as smoothly and successful as it possibly could. The knowledge gained from 2020 has been passed down throughout my team giving them a much greater understanding of company operation and future expansion.

6.     What one piece of advice would you give to any aspiring business owner?

A lot of people won’t understand why you are doing what your doing, which is completely fine, it took me a long time to understand that everyone wants completely different outcomes to life. It doesn’t mean my goal is right and theirs is wrong, it just means we’re different which is ok. But due to this you’ll find a lot of people might question and disregard your idea. You got that vivid image in your head of how your business is going to work, but its hard to describe in words. But there will be a day where a lot of the people will see what you created from nothing and will then understand why you did it. If you just started, listen to everyone, the individuals that see what you see and the individuals that don’t. Everyone’s comments is worth listening to, but you don’t have to explain yourself, your business will do that in time.

7.     What did you think of the virtual awards ceremony?

I think the Cardiff Business Award team done a amazing job considering the circumstances and pressure they must have been under to host last years ceremony. I know we all would’ve like to be there in person and experience the night with our family and teams. But I’m grateful for the work that they did, my family, friends and teams still celebrate in their own ways which was amazing to see as I couldn’t have achieved the award with their support and help, they deserved the celebration more than myself.

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