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Guest Blogger – James Hind, Founder and CEO of Carwow

We always find it so inspiring to hear entrepreneurs talk about their experiences. Often running your own business is as much about a personal journey as it is about a business one! As part of our series of Guest Blogs, we’re asking inspiring entrepreneurs to tell us their stories.  


This week we spoke to James Hind, Founder and CEO of carwow, a comparison site for new car buyers. James tells us how he went from running his business from his kitchen table to leading a team of 16 employees.



1.     Tell us about yourself and how you came up with the idea of carwow

I’m James Hind, co-founder & CEO of carwow. I started the business after graduating university. I’d always envisaged a career in finance but after a short stint interning at a finance company I realised it wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life.

I guess it was always in the back of my mind that one day I wanted to start a business, and doing so straight out of uni is a good time to do so as you have little to no existing commitments.

A lot of my friends and family were asking me for advice on what car to buy, so we created a site that aggregated reviews from across the web to offer advice to prospective car buyers. Pretty soon our users were asking if we knew where they could buy a car from, so we built carwow, the UKs first & only comparison site for new car buying.


2.     Did you see self-employment as a viable career option after graduation or did you stumble upon it?

A bit of both to be honest. I studied finance and always figured I’d go into that, but at the same time I always wanted to run my own thing.

A summer internship at a finance company put me off that route, so I worked a ski season abroad while I assessed my options and just decided to jump in headfirst to running my own business.


3.     What’s the biggest challenge you have overcome in starting-up?

We’re trying to improve an industry that’s been doing business the same way for decades, so change can appear very alien to decision makers.

A big part of our business involves getting dealerships on board to offer our users a fair price and amazing customer service. In the early days it was very difficult getting dealers to sign up, it was a numbers game and a tough slog but eventually we got our first 3 dealers to sign up and then things started to pick up. Fast-forward 12 months and we work with almost 400 dealers across the UK and last month 5% of all new Volkswagen Golfs sold in the UK were sold via carwow.


4.     What has been the most exciting development in your business so far?  

In February we raised a substantial investment from some of the leading investors in Europe – the investors behind companies like LoveFilm, Betfair & Zoopla. That was a real turning point for the business, it allowed us to hire an awesome team and scale really quickly.


5.     What do you feel is the most rewarding aspect of running your own business?

Just seeing it take off. We ran the business as a review aggregator for the first couple of years before turning it into a comparison site.

Since making that change we’ve seen unbelievable growth, scaling from zero to in excess of £10m worth of new cars sold each month. In our first 12 months of operation we’ve helped sell over £75m worth of cars and saved our customers over £9m.

It’s been an amazing experience to run something that’s growing so quickly, it’s weird to think that only 16 months ago I was running the business at my kitchen table, and now we have an office and 16 staff.


6.     What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

Patience and perseverance. Starting a business is hard, things will change a lot and it’s unlikely you’ll end up building and scaling your original idea, it will evolve or even change entirely. We started out as a review aggregator and turned into a comparison site. It’s important that you’re patient, willing to accept change and never give up.



Idea to business in 10 quickie steps

For entrepreneurs, it is often easier to come up with a variety of ideas for new businesses and more difficult to actually implement those concepts. Ideas and businesses are often different, but most are likely to go through these phases.

1. Come up with an idea

2. Think it through

3. Get some feedback from those who know

4. Make necessary changes

5. Build your basic product/service

7. Test it out

8. Make adjustments again

6. Launch

9. Grow

10. Continually review your plan.

If you feel this is all easier said than done, you are not alone. We are here to help you at every step. If you are interested in enterprise, Cardiff University Enterprise can help you develop the skills you need to stand out from the crowd or successfully create your own business.

If you have an idea for a business or social enterprise and need help to develop it or someone to talk to about the next steps, Cardiff University Enterprise offers impartial information, guidance and advice to Cardiff University students, graduates and alumni on how to take an idea forward and take an existing business or social enterprise to the next level.

We offer 1-2-1 business drop in sessions with experienced advisers and an opportunity to ask sector experts questions about your business, business start-up & skills development workshops, a diary of distinguished entrepreneurial speakers, an annual ideas challenge, access to funds & developmental bursaries, and a FREE start up office premises to kick start your business.

If you would like speak to someone about exploring an idea or the support available to you, please get in touch with Iheanyi Ibe on


Newsletter 16


We are seeing less and less students on campus and that can only mean one thing: SUMMER! The Enterprise Team are preparing for a summer full of event planning. We are working hard to put together an event calendar for next year that will offer more hands-on, interesting and  insightful workshops, activities, guests speakers, challenges and competitions. We will be offering our annual events like Spark, Ignite and iSolve as well as some new and exciting ones. If you have any suggestions  about the type of activities we should run next year, please feel free to get in touch by responding to this email. We want to make sure that everything on offer is relevant and useful to Cardiff University students.

Certificate of Personal Development in Enterprise & Entrepreneurship

We are almost at the end of our event calendar and are now able to accurately calculate points accrued by each student and award certificates in Personal Development in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship.  We will send out emails to the students who have qualified by noon on Friday 13 June with instructions on how to collect your certificate.  If you have any questions regarding the certificates please reply to this email.

Take My Junk: June 12 10:00-14:00, Woodville Pub.

A chance for students to buy, sell or trade items before leaving their accommodation for the summer. Take this opportunity to get a great deal on household essentials or to make a profit on your unwanted  goods.

Run in conjunction with Get it Out For Cardiff, the council will take anyway any un-sold items.  We are hoping to decrease the amount of waste sent to landfills this year.

If you don’t have anything to get rid of, please come along and try to snag a bargain.

To book your place visit:

Business Start-Up Week:

We’ve designed a four day intensive  programme  to get your business idea ready to take to market. Featuring a host of guest speakers, industry experts and hands on workshops, the week aims to the develop  the skills and knowledge you need to get your venture off the ground.  To apply visit:

1-2-1 mentoring

Remember that we are always here for a chat if you have a business idea or would like some advice on how to become self-employed (freelancing, websites etc). Pop into the SU and say

Kind regards,
Cardiff University Enterprise

Newsletter 14

Life after exams…

Exams have officially started and it’s hard to see past all the work that students have ahead of them, but there is life after exams.  The Enterprise Team have some great summer opportunities coming up. We will also be around all summer if you would like to pop into our office on the second  floor of the SU to have a chat about the different paths you can take after graduation and whether or not self employment is right for you.

Take My Junk: June 12 from 10:00-14:00, Woodville Pub.

A chance for students to buy, sell or trade items before leaving their accommodation for the summer. Take this opportunity to get a great deal on household essentials or to make a profit on your unwanted  goods.

Run in conjunction with Get it Out For Cardiff, the council will take anyway any un-sold items.  We are hoping to decrease the amount of waste sent to landfills this year.

To book your place visit:

Entrepreneurial Shadowing:

We are offering an Entrepreneurial Shadowing Experience for up to 12 lucky young people based at Wales ICE week commencing the 16th June 2014.

We will be looking for students from the South East area that have a strong interest in entrepreneurship to take part in an exciting pilot shadowing programme at Welsh ICE.  During the week, these lucky few students will have the opportunity to shadow some exciting entrepreneurs from a vast range of different businesses and sectors that are all based at Wales ICE.  Students will be given real life business tasks to complete.

For the application pack email: . Applications are due by 2 June.

 Business Start-Up Week:

We’ve designed a four day intensive  programme  to get your business idea ready to take to market. Featuring a host of guest speakers, industry experts and hands on workshops, the week aims to the develop  the skills and knowledge you need to get your venture off the ground.  To apply visit:

Helping the Local Community: ENACTUS

Would you like to help/volunteer  within the community? If so, you should get involved with ENACTUS- a worldwide organisation of students that apply business concepts to develop community outreach projects that improve the quality of life and standard of living for people in need. We are currently recruiting for next year.  If you’re interested please email:

Good luck with Exams!!


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Inspiring Enterprise Week:

Inspiring Enterprise Week kicked off to a great start with the Spring Market which saw entrepreneurial students testing their trade by booking out market stalls in the Student’s Union. Students sold their baked goods, unique artwork and various other hand-made crafts.  The market itself was buzzing and the buzz carried on throughout the week.

Both students and staff benefited from the vast array of activities and events put on by the Enterprise Team and student organisations such as AIESEC.  The staff-focused Embedding Enterprise Exchange event was a success with forty-five academics from across the UK converging on Cardiff. Discussions centred on how coupling academic learning with a mind set for enterprise can lead to open minded, innovative individuals ready to make a change in their chosen career.  Guest speakers from the fields of Computer Science, Design, Linguistics, Mathematics, Nursing and Welsh highlighted real examples of enterprise through their discipline and spoke about how teaching and learning is evolving within the UK.

Creative students were invited to learn how to freelance their talents in a workshop lead by Frances Brown. Students looking to expand on their skillset put their marketing, event management, financial analysis and business planning skills to use to help Save the High Street, a pervasive learning workshop lead by the Enterprise Team.  Postgraduate researchers were invited to witness a debate between Prof Judith Hall OBE and Constantina Katsari Muston concentrating on which path researchers should take after finishing their PhDs- Academia or Industry.

To further encourage student entrepreneurship, undergrads and postgrads looking to start their own enterprise, or are currently running a business part time, entered the Spark Ideas Challenge where £10,000 overall was awarded to successful candidates. In order to secure funding the contestants had to write a business plan, pitch to a panel of industry experts or create a video detailing their business ideas.  All participants received valuable feedback from the panel to ensure they had a solid business plan to take forward.


There were several other activities that sought to inspire staff and students, and the overall feedback was extremely positive.  The Cardiff University Enterprise Team invited excellent guest speakers such as Neil Cocker and Aimee Bateman  to speak to students about the perks and pitfalls of starting a business in Cardiff.  James Barnham and Helen McAvoy also regaled students with their experience of slaying the dreaded BBC Dragon’s Den judges by making the difficult decision to reject hundreds of thousands of pounds in funding. Through these events, workshops and guest speaker sessions,   The Enterprise Team were able to successfully encourage discussion amongst academics, staff and students in Cardiff, and even further afield, on what means to be innovative and enterprising.

Scroll down to hear from our guest speaker.

AIESEC’s Enterprise Project

In conjunction with the VC’s Inspiring Enterprise Week, AIESEC Cardiff will be hosting an all encompassing challenge course to unleash the entrepreneur in you!

Get ready for amazing talks and exciting games around town while enhancing the skills needed to be a great entrepreneur.

Why should you, yes YOU attend? For starters, you will have an opportunity to network with the speakers who are individuals taking the world of entrepreneurship by storm. The activities will be team based so you have a chance to not only increase your team-working skills but to also meet new people and form new friendships. Additionally, your creativity, ability to work under pressure, communication among many other skills will be cultivated.
This is a great opportunity to discover your corporate strengths, areas of improvement and learn something new all through short speeches and games! Did we mention that there will be free lunch and refreshments?
Come on out for a day full of fun on 29 March 2014, Saturday, 10am-5pm. You will not regret it :)
(For Cardiff Award students, this could count towards your hours!)

Academia vs Industry

Which gives you more scope to be innovative with your research skills – a career in academia or industry? The event brings together speakers from both sides of the spectrum to demonstrate the opportunities to be innovative and put your ideas into practice in each field.

The speakers will be:

Dr Constantina Katsari Muston a former economic history lecturer at the University of Leicester for eight years. During this time she published several books on money, economic crises and labour management. She has been a real estate property developer in Greece and the UK and the owner of a fashion and accessories start-up. In 2013 she made the decision to leave academia, believing that she could offer more to the public outside of the university system. She has since established a business consultancy, Ekonomia Ltd, which specialises in growth for lean start-ups.
Professor Judith Hall OBE , the head of the department of Anaesthetics, Intensive Care and Pain Medicine at Cardiff University. She is also a founder and trustee of Mothers of Africa, a charity that provides training for medical staff caring for mothers and babies in Sub-Saharan Africa, and the inventor of a patented system, the Hall Lock, to prevent wrong-route injections during operations. She has received a great many awards and honours over the course of her career, including the OBE for services to academic anaesthesia and services to Africa in 2013.​