Gavin’s ‘Star’ Business Quality Translates into Award Win

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Gavin Wheeldon, the founder and Managing Director of Applied Language Solutions, has been awarded this year's annual HSBC Start-Up Star Award 2006 in recognition of his inspirational business success.

The 300 guests who attended the glittering black-tie HSBC Start-up Star Award ceremony held at London’s Savoy Hotel on 17th October, witnessed Gavin Wheeldon, the founder and Managing Director of one of the leading translation agencies, Applied Language Solutions, being crowned this year’s 'HSBC Start Up Star 2006'. In less than three years, Gavin has taken his Huddersfield based company from being a one-man translation operation operating in his back bedroom into a multi-million pound Global enterprise now boasting International offices and a 54 strong team that provides translation services to big named brands such as Primark, Robbie Williams and Nike. It comes as no surprise that the man responsible for this success outshined the other nine finalists to scoop the prestigious award along with the top prize of £25,000 in recognition of his star business quality, creativity and determination to succeed.

The annual HSBC Start-Up Stars Awards, presented in association with the Daily Express and Sky News, are a nationwide search for Britain's brightest new businesses and the inspirational entrepreneurs behind them. After being awarded the Regional Winner for the North, Gavin, 30, secured his place as a National Finalist and went on to win this year’s final award, not just purely based on the profit and turnover of his phenomenally growing company, but for his ability to identify a business opportunity and use his initiative, creativity and sound business practice to turn it into a successful enterprise.

Gavin enthused “I am honoured to have made it as a finalist in this year’s competition, and ecstatic at winning this award that recognises Applied Language’s ability as a successful and innovative company. Not only that, but it acknowledges our passion and commitment about what we do. I am extremely proud that we have achieved what we have today. Starting my own business has changed my life. I actually get up in the morning looking forward to coming to work.”

Organisers were specifically searching to award the entrepreneur whose venture serves as an inspiration for those who are contemplating turning their business dreams into reality, and demonstrates a practical example that success can be achieved. This is certainly the case with Gavin Wheeldon and his continuously successful translation company.

Gavin, who is originally from Manchester, launched Applied Language Solutions from the back bedroom of his home after identifying a changing demand for language services internationally combined with the lack of Internet technology used in the translation industry. Gavin realised its potential for improving processes and decreasing costs whilst increasing the quality of service and turnaround times, which is essentially where Applied Language Solutions' competitive edge lies. Gavin’s knowledgeable exploitation of Internet technology and his commitment to only using the highest qualified ‘in-house’ translators and interpreters means the company can deliver accurate and quick translation and interpretation services in over 140 languages to anywhere in the world.

Gavin explains “I saw in translation a trade whose roots were primarily academic. Here was the opportunity to totally transform the process involved in delivering translation services to meet the challenge of today’s modern world, and I grabbed it with both hands. I took the risk and with my last salary payment from my previous job I established Applied Language Solutions in my back bedroom. Although I have encountered many challenges, through sheer determination, hard work and belief in the company, the risk paid off and here I am today with a highly successful International translation agency that offers quality translation services for anything as small as tattoos right through to whole websites.”

As the company grew, Gavin recruited his first staff member and opened an office in Huddersfield in January 2004. Soon afterwards, Gavin brought in his brother, Paul, 34, as Project and Operations Manager. The fast growth experienced in fewer than three years has seen the company’s workforce expand. They also now have over 6,000 professional ‘in-country’ translators recruited worldwide and the company’s global presence has increased phenomenally with offices operating in California, Paris, Barcelona, Sofia and Guatemala City. After already moving offices 6 times around Huddersfield to accommodate the growing workforce, the company’s UK office is currently settled at Armitage Bridge, Huddersfield.

Gavin continues “I realise the company’s greatest asset is the staff. We are continuously recruiting new members, and the amazing team certainly deserves the credit as being one of the major contributions in the success of Applied Language today. The way we treat the staff is just one of the areas that makes us stand out from the crowd, not only in this industry but generally. We offer various benefits, including free healthy lunches and fruit, ‘Duvet’ days, massages and birthdays off, to name but a few. All of our staff are also provided with a laptop and MP3 player.”

“To prove our commitment to staff development, we have put a lot of hard work as a team into achieving the strict working standards of Investors In People, and were very proud to receive the accreditation in April. We also received ISO 14001 last week in recognition of our commitment to environmental management.”

It doesn’t stop there for Gavin. ALS is currently in the process of developing an INSTANT interpretation service, with plans also in place to open offices in Romania, Germany, East Coast of America, China and Australia in the not too distant future, which will allow 24 hours global coverage.

“I have a passion and drive that not only helps push my company forward, but also the people in my team to strive for bigger things. Overall I think the most innovative part about the company is the fact that we keep on innovating. We are constantly striving to do things better and faster and we are constantly looking at how we can improve every area of the business. That is the underlying principle to the company’s success, and any piece of advice I would offer to those budding entrepreneurs considering setting up their own business. That, and don’t be afraid to take the risk. If you believe in something enough and work hard, it will be successful. Applied Language Solutions is a great example.”

Applied Language Solutions boasts the ability to translate all kinds of documents from simple letters to large technical documents, including whole websites and printed catalogues, for specialist Medical, Legal, Financial and Marketing organisations.

For a free quote visit or call +44 (0)870 172 0000 in the UK or +1 (800) 579 5010 in the US to talk to a one of the team.


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Stacey Rose
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