Ashley Cooper has already created a £100M revenue business from scratch – and now he’s focused on sharing his expertise with the next generation of Wales-based entrepreneurs. With a passion for entrepreneurship that burns as brightly today as it’s ever done, Ashley has become involved with REAP to help inspire you to write your own success story.
As someone who understands the path a true entrepreneur must take, Ashley Cooper is excited about REAP’s potential to provide Wales-based innovators and business people with the fuel to spark success and spread prosperity.
Ashley has entrepreneurship in his blood. His father was a successful businessman who would often tell his son that he’d only create the future he wanted, by forging the business he wanted to work in.
He took this advice literally and launched his first company, TES Aviation – a venture specialising in aircraft engine services – after an eight year grounding at two large enterprises within the aviation industry. And for a man who, by his own admission, knew next to nothing about running a business when he started out, he's come a long way.
Ashley grew TES Aviation from two employees to a 160-strong, £100 million turnover company with offices across the UK, Asia and North America. And in true entrepreneurial style, when he stepped down as CEO in 2014, retirement was the last thing on his mind.
REAP is about challenging people’s mindsets and giving them the belief that they can achieve something in whatever they do. It isn’t just about being an entrepreneur. It’s about being innovative and enterprising in everything we do
Fast-forward to the present day and Ashley is now hard at work at Catalyst Growth Partners, a Cardiff-based business investment company he co-founded to help entrepreneurs across Wales establish themselves and reach their potential.
In part, this new company was born through a realisation that he would have found mentorship invaluable back in the days when he was a young entrepreneur brimming with ideas but short of practical experience.
"Mentoring and getting to meet people in the same position as you is fundamental to success." Ashley says. "It allows you to learn what you don’t know and learn from the experience of others."
And now, being part of the REAP panel and driving forward the BE THE SPARK programme, Ashley has found another channel to help entrepreneurs bring their ideas to life.
"The whole initiative is about challenging people’s mindsets and giving them the belief that they can achieve something," he says. It's going to be an exciting journey for those who truly engage. I am a true believer that if you set your mind to it, you can achieve anything in any venture."