A YOUNG entrepreneur is looking forward to an audience with global business tycoon Richard Branson.
Luke Robertson launched his online venture Wallchimp just months after leaving Hartlepool Sixth Form College.
The business specialises in the design and creation of custom vinyl wall stickers. It has already caught the eye of Dragon’s Den star Theo Paphitis who named Luke as one of his Small Business Sunday winners.
And now Luke could get words of advice from Richard Branson after he was invited to attend a networking event with the billionaire businessman. Luke, 20, said he’d had “an incredible year” which looks set to continue with the get together for people from across the world to share their entrepreneurial ideas.
“I hope I get the chance to speak to Richard as I’ll certainly be picking his brains,” he said.
Luke launched Wallchimp on eBay in October 2012 and it quickly grew. Soon after, homes, offices, shops and workplaces were buying wall stickers and he also built a corporate client base.
Dragon’s Den investor Theo Paphitis invited Luke onto his Small Business Winners’ programme and tweeted about Wallchimp to his 403,000 followers.
Luke added: “My website hits suddenly went through the roof and it brought me into touch with a lot of very credible business contacts.”
Luke has also been helped by Hartlepool Enterprise Centre, which offered advice and support.w
Mick Emerson, principal economic development officer at Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “It is great to see someone so young really understand what entrepreneurial spirit is all about and grab each opportunity he gets.
“If he continues to work hard and open such grand doors, then there’s every chance Luke could be the next Richard Branson.”
Luke added: “I’m getting orders from all over Europe and have recently taken on a freelance graphic designer to help with the images, while my mum Sharon helps with the book-keeping side of things.”