National Business Awards Entrepreneur finalist Focus: Jamie Waller, JBW Group

Describe your background and journey into the business world
I left School at 16 before completing any formal qualifications to spend a year in Ibiza having fun. I went onto starting many small businesses – from the age of 17 starting in window cleaning and ending with car sales

I then became a self employed bailiff in 1999 and then started my own debt recovery and enforcement business in 2004. I am now the owner and CEO of two companies, JBW Group and AR-12 Limited. Both are in the space of compliance and enforcement for the Judicial service and UK Government.

How did you fund your business
I put £4,000 on a credit card and £6,200 of savings. Four months in I ran out of money so accepted £40,000 of cash in return for 15 per cent of my business. I purchased the shares back in 2006 for £135,000!

How are you managing the challenges associated with starting up your own business
I talk to people, take advice and more importantly listen. I employ an amazing team of Executive and Non Executive Directors and have a great relationship with my Chairman who also acts as my Mentor.

Can you give any advice to others starting up businesses
Be prepared for hard work, lots of fun and very little sleep.

How do you foster innovation throughout your business
Give people the space to think, the freedom to innovate and the budget to try. Not all innovation is good for business but I would rather try 10 things and 8 fail than to try none at all.