North Wales-based David Leigh Evans resigned from a long and successful teaching career to focus on helping private and public sector organisations develop links with the education sector. He launched SARN Associates and has since grown it to develop many educational projects for organisations across the UK.
- Business Wales support with starting up
- growth adviser brought on board to help with strategy
- 4 partners as well as a network of associates
Introduction to business
Having spent 20 years in the teaching sector including seven as a primary school headteacher, David Leigh Evans decided to take on a new challenge and lead a team of teachers to develop an education package. He also recognised that a lot of commercial and public organisations wanted to engage with schools but found it difficult, so this inspired him to take the leap and set up his own business.
SARN now has 4 partners and a team of associates including local designers and photographers.
What did you set out to achieve in your business?
The original aim of the business was to support public and private sector organisations to develop effective links with the education sector.
Initially, SARN worked with a major electricity company helping them develop an education and community programme. Since this first project, we have worked with clients across the UK developing many diverse projects.
With an experienced team that can provide support across several education sectors, SARN has now diversified to include the development of our own bilingual resources in Welsh and English that are used by many schools.
What challenges did you face?
The biggest challenge was developing a team with the skills to deliver high quality resources for our clients. Fortunately, this was resolved at the very beginning when I was introduced to an excellent design company who took time to fully understand our clients’ needs. I have recruited people who are committed educationalists, who understand the needs of schools and community groups.
Three years ago, I was also rocked by the death of my wife. She was fantastic, very supportive of the business. Although it was devastating, I had to stay positive. The business gave me focus, I was back in work within a couple of days. My friends and colleagues have been wonderful, and work has been a solace.
Why did you approach Business Wales?
I approached Business Wales in the very early days of my business journey. Especially when I was on my own, I really valued the support of the Business Wales advisers. As SARN expanded, it was good to share ideas. The advice offered has always been positive and, undoubtably, helped me reflect on the challenges we have faced over the years.
- advisory support with starting up
- advice on growing the business
- 4 partners along with a team of associates
[My adviser] Carol Williams is an outstanding professional. Our business is different, but Carol has always understood our approach. She listens carefully and gives measured responses. She is excellent at identifying links that have served SARN very well. All the SARN team members, who have met her, really respect and value her support.
Future plans and ambitions
David is now planning to take on a strategic approach to develop SARN into a leading educational consultancy and is looking at ways to export his ideas overseas.
If you want to read more success stories of how Business Wales has helped other people like you to start or grow their businesses, visit https://businesswales.gov.wales/case-studies or follow @_businesswales / @_busnescymru on Twitter.