Chemical & Biochemical Engineering, M.Eng.
CEO of DooPoll. Steve is an entrepreneur having set up and run his own recruitment business and creative consultancy.
DooPoll was set up to allow companies ot get feedback from staff and they now works with companies like Royal Bank of Scotland, O2, Legal & General and Barclays. In his spare time, Steve runs a book club and film club from the Chapter Arts Theatre in Cardiff where he volunteers.
As with most people I befriended in my time at Swansea, I tend to say it was the making of me. It’s an amazing place to learn. Not just in your chosen subject, but also about life and, I guess, yourself. I loved having independence and getting to meet new people from completely different backgrounds. It wasn’t easy - nothing worth having is - but I think being open and curious about discovering new experiences is what allowed me to make the best of my time in Swansea. I lived on Campus in my fresher year. Room 412 in Sibly: even just writing that has brought a smile to my face. In my second year, I shared with 5 other lads in Westbury St, closer to town, but still a pleasant walk into the Uni. As a few of them did a year abroad, in my 3rd year I stayed in the Brynmill area and then for the final year of my Masters, I moved down to the beautiful Mumbles.
My defining memory of Swansea is the lifelong friends I made and being with them outdoors. Whether in the sea or on the beaches of Caswell or Oxwich, on the pitches of Sketty Lane or Fairwood, sat on the green outside Fulton House, wandering along the promenade back from town, or enjoying the Mumbles Mile in the summer term.
I graduated in 1998 and was fortunate enough to have already landed a job (via the milk-round) on the Graduate Management Scheme with Atkins, one of the world’s largest engineering consultancies, working out of their London offices. My first role was assessing and optimizing safety systems for oil rigs. Pretty much immediately I was using in the real world precisely what I’d been studying for the previous 4 years. The work was very repetitive though and not as varied as I’d hoped; I consulted Excel spreadsheets more than people. After 12 months, I’d been approached by a newly started company who wanted to take a punt on me as their second hire. Welcome to the world of recruitment! I struggled initially but in time found my feet and eventually, in 2004, having met and proposed to my future wife, I decided to move back to Wales and open the company’s first satellite office. The banking crash happened in 2009 and the company sadly had to let almost all staff go. As one of only a handful of staff remaining and now with 2 children to feed too, I decided I wanted to be in control of my own destiny so started out by myself. I established the UK’s first recruitment agency to offer video job adverts. This went well and I enjoyed several years of running a lifestyle business that allowed me to take my children to and from school. In 2013, our third child arrived and with it a realization that after 15 years in the world of recruitment, I needed ‘something else’.
I’d been approached by my now business partner at Doopoll, Marc, about starting a creative communications consultancy and in 2014 we founded Small Joys.
It was through Small Joys that we realized a need for companies to be able to consult their staff and get honest feedback and opinions, and from this Doopoll was born. Now, 4 years on from building a prototype in less than a week, we have raised hundreds of thousands of pounds of investment, brought onboard clients as varied as Royal Bank of Scotland, O2, Welsh Government, Legal and General, Welsh Rugby Union, Barclays, Football Association of Wales and many, many more. Doopoll now has users in almost a thousand city’s worldwide and in the next few months will receive the millionth response to the thousands of questions that have been posted via our web-based platform.
There’s a great quote in Welsh that I wish had been explained to me when I was at Swansea: “Deuparth gwaith yw ei dechrau” roughly speaking this translates to “Two thirds of the work is in starting”.
Steves Advice for current students;
Quite simply, start. Start your business now. Don’t wait until your course finishes, or for when every little piece of paperwork is in place. Believe in yourself and in your idea. Start. Start now.