Having worked in the Fire Safety and Health & Safety sector for over 22 years, Dave Thomas decided to set up his own Health & Safety, Fire Safety, Construction Safety and Environmental consultancy, Thomas Safety Services, in September 2007 in Newport.
After becoming a limited company (Thomas Safety Services Ltd.) in 2013 and Dave’s wife Claire joining as an Administrative Director a year later, the couple decided to relocate both their home and their business to Drefach-Felindre in 2017.
In addition to the consultancy services, Thomas Safety Services Ltd. now provide over 65 approved online e-Learning courses, covering Health & Safety, Health & Social Care and Business Skills. They are also an approved distributor and supply over 30,000 market-leading safety products via their online shop, including H&S Law posters, safety signs, labels, PPE, first aid kits, fire extinguishers, spill kits, mechanical aids, waste management, safety barriers, amongst others.
What they did
“After our move to Carmarthenshire in October 2017, we quickly established there was a distinct lack of networking opportunities. We spent months trying to find a networking group to join and even discussed this with [our Business Wales Relationship Manager] Cath Orton. People started telling us that there was a need for a good network, so we decided to set up CCP Business Network (CCP stands for Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire).
Initially, CCP Business Network was set it up as an online Facebook group while we were looking for a suitable venue. Eventually, I got fantastic support from the Emlyn Hotel, who now provide the venue free of charge for our events.
CCP Business Network is looking to attract any type of SME (sole trader to 250 employees) from Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire, hence the name CCP Business Network. The aim is to allow small and medium sized businesses in the area to develop mutually beneficial relationships, gain referrals and develop their client network.”
Their proudest moment in business
In June 2011, Dave graduated with a Master of Science (M.Sc.) degree in Safety, Health & Environmental Management, which he passed with Distinction.
In October 2016, Dave was present at a client’s insurance audit, carried out by a CMIOSH insurance surveyor. While summing up the audit, the insurance surveyor stated to Dave’s client (and himself) that until this point, he had not rated any business as a ‘Gold’ category but was going to do so for them. He went on to address Dave personally and commended him on the standard of the management system that had been implemented with the client. The client benefitted from the positive comments and the written report, as they were offered a reduction in their insurance premiums. The surveyor’s comments gave Dave a ‘boost’ and self-satisfaction that his research, work and implementation of H&S management systems was well worth the effort. He couldn’t have wished for such high praise from a peer. Thomas Safety Services Ltd. have also benefitted from a very good testimonial from the client and they are recommending the business, too.
Describe the type of support (financial / non-financial) they’ve received from Business Wales / Welsh Government
Claire and Dave Thomas have embraced the Welsh Government’s Business Wales and Superfast Business Wales assistance since relocating to Drefach-Felindre from Newport, while continuing to support their many customers from South East Wales and the M4 corridor. They have benefitted from guidance with their growth strategy, provided by Business Wales Relationship Manager Catherine Orton and Superfast Business Wales’ adviser Catrin Williams.
Since attending a Business Wales event in Carmarthen in February 2018, both Claire and Dave have been proactive in supporting Business Wales’ events as they grow their client base in the region. Their passion has led them to plan and instigate a new collaborative networking group, CCP Business Network, in Newcastle Emlyn, attracting businesses, contacts and influencers from Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire.
The inaugural event, which was held on 7 November, attracted over 25 local businesses.
Dave said: “We have been working with Business Wales for a number of years. Our initial support was in Newport, Gwent, prior to our move to Carmarthenshire in October 2017. We attended a few workshops and I actually delivered a few myself on SSIP via our Tendering Adviser Guto Carrod. Since moving to Carmarthenshire, we have established a very good working relationship with Cath Orton, Relationship Manager at Business Wales, Catrin Williams, a Superfast Business Wales adviser, and once again with Guto Carrod. We have attended a Superfast training course, a networking event in Pembrokeshire and are being supported by Cath and Catrin who are regularly attending and supporting our CCP Business Network meetings. We often refer the services offered by Business Wales to existing clients and potential clients.”
Here are the company’s top tips for anyone else looking to start or grow their own business:
- as a Welsh business, engaging with Business Wales is a must
- register the business on Sell2Wales
- attend as many free business seminars and network groups as possible
- make sure you have a secure website and email system, which is hosted by a reliable source (a ‘.co.uk’ address is a must)
- get a good accountant and discuss the pros and cons of becoming a limited company