Cardiff and Vale College student Ben's Big Idea for gamers gets backed by business mentor
Cardiff’s gaming community is set to get the first Esports and gaming lounge in Wales thanks to an enterprising student from Cardiff and Vale College.
Level 3 IT student Ben Pattenden has been paired with an entrepreneur role model who will help him develop a business model for the scheme, which Ben hopes will be up and running by the end of the year.
Esports and gaming lounges and bars are venues where people can sit and watch professional gamers compete against each other, take part in gaming themselves, or simply relax. Hugely popular across the world, Ben and his business partner Paul Tristram hope to make the lounges part of Welsh culture.
“There are other sports cafes but nothing for Esports and the gaming community,” Ben said. “When we set up it will be the first one in Wales – it’s something that’s growing in popularity and will be really big in the future.”
Ben and his business idea got through to the Big Ideas Wales Boot Camp. Designed to give a boost to budding entrepreneurs, the Boot Camp was a three-day intensive residential course where the young people were able to meet with world-class entrepreneurs, network with their peers and received coaching on their business ideas.
“The Boot Camp was amazing!” 24-year-old Ben from Cardiff said. “I was expecting to learn a few bits and bobs about business but I came away with a huge confidence boost and met some really inspiring people with some great success stories.”
Big Ideas Wales is a campaign to encourage young people to be more entrepreneurial and to help those interested in starting a business to take their ideas forward. The campaign is managed by the Welsh Government’s Youth Entrepreneurship Team.
The Big Ideas Wales Challenge forms part of the initiative, and Ben’s idea was one of just 25 from across Wales that was accepted for the Boot Camp. While there he got to mix with like-minded young entrepreneurs from across the country.
“It was great to be surrounded by people who really want you to do well and are genuinely willing to put it in a lot of time and effort to help you succeed,” Ben said. “I was paired with what they call a ‘role model’, who is someone who has already set up a successful business, or a few successful businesses.
“They will help me over the next year to try and make the business a reality. My role model is really excited about the idea and we’re going to be working on getting a business plan together – hopefully by the end of the year will have Wales’ first Esports and Gaming Lounge up and running!
“All in all it was an amazing experience and I definitely think that the Boot Camp has been the difference between my business idea becoming a reality instead of remaining a dream. The entire weekend felt so surreal, being around so many people who want you to do well – I didn’t want to leave.”
Cardiff and Vale College has a strong commitment to building and nurturing an entrepreneurial mindset among its learners. It is the only Welsh college in the Gazelle Group, which aims to transform further education by developing new commercial learning models and innovative partnerships with business and to equip students with the skills to be creative, confident and resilient in the workplace.