A young entrepreneur from Coventry is backing the next generation of business founders by giving a local graduate a big step on the start-up ladder.
Having taken his own business to a £2 million turnover within three years of establishing it at the age of 28, Leigh Mackey is now helping 22-year-old Liam Hartzenberg get his fledgling company off to a flying start.
Despite only graduating from Coventry University this summer, Liam has been chosen over more experienced competitors to create a new website for Leigh’s company, Inspire Insurance Services.
The contract with the independent commercial insurance broker is the first major win for Liam since setting up Viscomm Projects in May.
Liam, who completed a Masters degree in transport design, had already got off to a dream start after securing local businessmen Andrew and Michael Gabriel as co-investors.
Liam said: “I started doing web design to help pay for university and during the final year of my degree, created a website for Andrew. Michael was impressed and recommended me to two of his clients.
“When they asked what I was planning to do after university, I said I couldn’t find a job as a transport designer so had decided to set up my own business in website design and asked if they would like to invest in me.”
With their support, Liam was able to secure a loan from Coventry University’s Institute of Applied Entrepreneurship for an equal share in the company.
Leigh, managing director of Inspire Insurance Services, said: “Having built up my own company at a young age and from a standing start, I was keen to give Liam a chance.
“It’s fair to say he was the underdog because the other companies tendering were large and well-known entities but he interpreted the brief well and was very competitive.
“The website is a vital part of our business and Liam has done a great job in reflecting the new corporate image we wanted to achieve for our expanding client base as well as giving it personality.”
The Gabriel brothers are well-known businessmen in Coventry. Andrew is a former co-owner of Escape bar and now managing director of entertainment agency Integrity. Michael worked in banking for over 20 years and now runs his own business advisory company, Gabriel Consulting.
Andrew said: “Michael and I have around 40 years of business experience between us and it’s incredibly exciting to be involved in a new start-up. Leigh is a successful young professional and it’s great that he has given Liam his first big break.”
Michael added: “For us it’s about giving something back and supporting a budding entrepreneur to turn his creative talent into a successful enterprise.”