SWLG Individual Members
Mark Mason started his first business when he was 25. With a
degree in Electronic Engineering from the City University he saw an
opportunity to set up a marketing agency that specialised in
working with hi-tech companies. Since then businesses such as
Orange, Microsoft, Toshiba, Google and EMC have all worked with
Mark’s agency to handle their advertising, direct marketing,
websites, microsites and brochures.
In January 2008, when the agency was 60 people strong, Mark sold
the Mason Zimbler Group to a large US company called Harte-Hanks.
Mark left the agency in December 2008 and intends to take some time
out in 2009 to pursue other interests including travel, hot air
ballooning and training his very badly behaved labrador,
Mark joined the SWLG in October 2008 and would like to use his
broad range of business experience to help younger people fulfil
their business ambitions through mentoring and sheer
After completing a first degree in electronic systems, Gordon
began applying his mind to human, business and organisational
systems. This led to his early success in housing renewal and
qualification as a chartered surveyor. His built environment career
developed through the local authority and housing association
sectors to the thoughtful refurbishment of a succession of historic
His activities exploring the design of global human systems and
business transformation have informed his pro bono work on numerous
civic society and environmental initiatives, including civil
aviation environmental policy development and a project for the
establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly.
All of Gordon’s work, as a global citizen, international
strategist, businessman, systems thinker, healer, coach, father,
husband and community member has been rooted in the pursuit of
human development. He understands that people have the potential to
co-create any future they can articulate to each other and he
mentors others in transformational understanding and action.
Gordon’s work and passions are closely aligned with those of the
Trust and he is based in the World Heritage City of Bath. These
factors led to his joining the SWLG in 2009.
John first got involved with The Prince’s Trust in 1997 as a
business mentor. Since then his involvement has grown year on year
and he is now Chair of The Trust’s Council in the South West, in
addition to being a founder member of the SWLG. In his role as
Chair of the Regional Council John is able to ensure The Trust in
the South West is represented on a national level.
John has held many senior positions in businesses across the
South West and is therefore well placed to advise on best business
practice. He is particularly passionate about young enterprise in
the region and how The Prince’s Trust Business Programme can really
make a difference to both the local economy and the lives of
disadvantaged young people.
With John’s infectious enthusiasm for the work of the Trust he
has allowed many dreams to be realised for young people and many
doors to be opened for the charity.
In becoming a member of the SWLG John will become further
involved in the work of the charity whilst also imparting his
knowledge of The Trust, in particular the Business Programme, as
well as all the other activities of the Trust in the region, to
other new members.
In addition to all the work he does for The Trust, John is also
Chairman of the Bristol Drugs Project and a member of the board for
the South West Housing Association. He is also still involved in
the family beef farm at his home in Somerset.
Starting his working life as a teacher, Clive began buying and
renovating houses on the side. Building on the success of this he
started Hughes Property in 1984. Over the next 14 years Clive
developed this business into a national franchise network offering
24/7 property maintenance before disposing of the business in
After a number of years in consultancy roles buying and selling
businesses, Clive is now a major shareholder of a coldstore and
logistics business. He continues to develop and renovate properties
and is currently managing the development of the Somalian Centre in
Easton, Bristol. Clive also specialises in incubator centres (small
studios/workshops and offices) for small to medium sized
businesses. He is currently launching project ‘9, Bath Buildings’
(see www.bathbuildings.co.uk). In addition to the above, Clive
often gives informal input into emerging businesses, sometimes as a
Away from the office Clive's interests are snowboarding and
cycling, old films and music and an interesting fact is that he
used to be a competitive water skier.
Matthew Shaw started his business life working with the
supermarket chain, Waitrose. After completing a management training
programme he worked across a number of stores before progressing
his career in Sales, Marketing and Management for a number of large
blue chip companies including United Biscuits and Mars. Matthew has
led Bristol based Bart Spices through its transition from being an
owner managed to business to its current position of being a high
growth private equity backed enterprise. He believes passionately
that increasing access to business opportunity and commerce is
critical to developing a better community. Matthew joined the SWLG
in November 2010 and is looking forward to getting involved in
helping to young people into successful outcomes through
self-made man, Stuart left school at 16 to join the Army. A short
stint in the Royal Engineers convinced him he wanted to operate his
own business and he began planning his first venture.
After a couple of years earning money as an
employee he launched his first business selling second-hand TVs.
Hard work but fun, that first venture taught Stuart the all
important rule that the customer is always number one. With the
benefit of this valuable business experience he then started a book
import and mail order business from his bedroom which quickly
In his early 20s, he went to Westminster
University where he further cemented his experience, acquiring an
Engineering and Business degree before winning a scholarship and
going on to acquire his MBA from Edinburgh University.
He then travelled to Thailand where he lived
for 10 years meeting his wife Lynn and from where he opened a dozen
franchise businesses employing more than 400 people.
Returning to the UK, he opened several
Domino’s Pizza franchises and is now the Costa Coffee franchisee
for Bristol and the South West, and has won the Costa Coffee UK
Franchisee of the Year Award for two years in a row. He recently
acquired his Graduate Diploma in Law (Common Professional Exam) at
the College of Law in Bristol.
Jason co-founded People Source Consulting at the age
of 26 with a little help from The Prince’s Trust. 10 years on and
the company now employs 40 people. Jason places huge emphasis on
maintaining a culture which is different from many competitor
The company has a reputation for delivering results but doing it
in the right way. He bought out the other founder in 2007, since
then the company been listed on The Fast Track 100 Award List and
continues to grow vigorously, aiming to double in size by 2014.
Jason enjoys seeing people achieve their ambitions and has created
a vibrant, fast-paced environment where this can happen.
He has been involved in mentoring start-ups and understands the
value in the support which The Prince’s Trust provides. Outside of
work he enjoys F1 and taking part in track days.
Ajith completed his Economics degree and masters at Birmingham
and Sheffield University and then turned his attention to becoming
a serial entrepreneur. In 1991 he started South American restaurant
chain Las Iguanas and with a bank loan of just £10,000 he went on
to grow the business to a valuation of £27 million across 23
locations. More recently he has started Caribbean restaurants
Turtle Bay. He is also Investor Director of Go Science Ltd and
Non-Executive Director of restaurant groups Tampopo Ltd & Aqua
He is a dedicated and highly successful entrepreneur with a
proven track record in focused business growth in competitive
environments. Ajith has considerable experience in brand
development, profitable growth, working with venture capitalists,
operational excellence, people development, marketing, location
strategies and site development.
Ajith joined the South West Leadership Group in February 2012
and would like to use his personal and business experience to help
young people fulfill their business ambitions.
completing his education from Bristol Polytechnic (now The
University of the West of England) in 1978, Mike entered a
precarious employment market seeking a job in IT. He then got a job
as a Trainee Recruitment Consultant with Sanderson Executive
Mike is now the CEO of Resource Solutions Group PLC (RSG),
having turned a three person business operating above a sweet shop
in Clifton Village into a national recruitment organisation
employing over 170 people.
Away from the office, Mike tries to stay fit, committing to at
least one major sporting challenge each year. Past initiatives have
included cycling 155 miles from Bristol to Cornwall in two days,
and the Snowdonia Challenge (a 40 mile bike ride, trek up and down
Snowdon and canoe around a lake) for a great charity called
Mike feels passionate about supporting young people and getting
many of the 1.1 million young unemployed into meaningful
employment. He joined The Prince’s Trust South West Leadership
Group to inspire and help young people fulfil their ambitions.
Through Mike’s leadership, his company RSG also sponsor and
provide support to a fantastic initiative, the “RSG Bristol Young
Student of the Year Award”, which develops young people’s
employability skills by giving them real business experience and
the confidence to succeed.
Thank you to our other individual members:
- Andrew Nisbet
- Honorary Member Rick Stein
- Richard Neville
- Michael Clarke
- Honorary Member René Carayol
- Iain Wolsey
- Roger Mayhew