North East Connected

Teenage entrepreneur launches digital company

C35A0204A South Tyneside teenager has launched his own digital design company and is already looking to expand thanks to its instant success.

Eighteen-year-old Gateshead College student Luke Farrell was awarded office space in the Northern Design Centre, Gateshead, by Gateshead Council after being recognised for his outstanding new business Puzzled, which specialises in app and website design.

Luke already has several clients on his books, including local companies, and is now looking to employ a student from his college to mentor and pass his skills on to.

Gateshead College was able to offer business support and a grant of £1,000 to set up Puzzled, which was used to purchase web space, domains, develop branding for the business and for advertising.

Luke, who is studying a Level 3 Software Development Extended Diploma at Gateshead College said; “Gateshead College was the best decision I ever made and I would never have launched my business without the help, guidance and financial support they gave me.

“I have always wanted to have my own business; I am so excited to be launching Puzzled at such a young age. There is so much I want to develop and achieve across my career and it has already got off to a great start.”

Puzzled has also orchestrated the launch of popular brain-teasing app, ‘Colors – a game of matching’, which sees participants beat their high score by identifying colours by name.

Users are challenged by mis-matched and additional words and colours. The app has so far had 2,000 downloads across various devices.

Luke’s interest in computing started at the age of just 11 when he was introduced to computer coding by his father, and by the age of only 13 he was designing digital games and animations in his spare time.

Shelley Raine, entrepreneurial activity coordinator at Gateshead College, said: “Luke has great business sense and was very proactive in his approach to launching Puzzled.

“We help students set up their own business by guiding them through the process stage by stage and planning every step to ensure that their business ideas reap commercial awards.”

Luke is also part of the Gateshead College Northern Stars Enterprise Society, which encourages students of all ages to attend networking events, join competitions and attend sessions that will build career prospects and enhance their CVs, as well as nurture up-and-the chance to create their own business and showcase their entrepreneurial talent.

Shelley continued; “We want to encourage all learners to take part in the activities linked with the Northern Stars Enterprise Society, and encourage them all to view self-employment as a career choice.

“The entrepreneurial programmes run by the college are becoming more popular year-on-year and we can look forward to helping many other students reach their career goals.”

Luke was one of ten businesses that were awarded office space as part of the Digital Union Start-up Competition in Northern Design Centre, Gateshead.

The initiative that was supported by Scape Community Fund and delivered by Gateshead Council was set up to identify start-up businesses that would benefit from early stage growth support. Luke was recognised for his outstanding new business Puzzled, which specialises in app and website design. His success earned him a place along with a £1,000 grant which will enable him to purchase equipment to set up his office.

Gateshead Council cabinet member for economy, Cllr Mary Foy, said: “The whole idea of this competition was to find enthusiastic and fresh thinking people like Luke. It’s provided that little extra help that is often needed to turn a great idea into a great new business.

“Being in a creative and vibrant location like Northern Design Centre also gives new businesses an extra advantage. Many up and coming firms find themselves working from spare rooms and missing out on the chance to share ideas and opportunities with other likeminded people.”

The college also invested a further £14,000 into new business set up by students, which was awarded to them by UnLtd – a social enterprise organisation which awards funding to encourage new business across the country. The funds were awarded to the college after a bidding process against other organisations.

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