Skip to toolbar

Click on the photo to visit Simon’s LinkedIn profile


What was your first job after leaving school/further education?

I enlisted directly into the armed forces at 16 years old as a gunner in the Royal Artillery, after undergoing intense training from both the Royal Marines and the Parachute Regiment, I became team medic for a small observation team responsible for surveillance, target acquisition & reconnaissance.

When did you start your business & what prompted you to do it?

I founded Iron Ocean in April 2015 when I was one of the thousands forced to find alternative employment during the oil and gas economic downturn. I had applied for over 400 jobs via recruiters and online employment platforms. With rent to pay, it was time to find a way or make one.

What did you find most challenging at the beginning?

Funding, pure and simple.

What or who has helped you to grow your business the most?

Business Gateway, they had a good reputation so I approached them at the earliest stage and my advisor was amazing. This progressed on to introductions to RBS Business, Interface and the Scottish Enterprise.

How did you fund your business?

I went all in, I ploughed in savings, sold personal effects of immense personal value, then hit the pitching circuit hunting any competition with a cash prize. My company needed to work. I had designed a product that could save lives and funding the R&D became personal, I was turned away from various government funded bodies there specifically to support people like me.  Luckily this just made me more determined.

What would you do differently now looking back?

Not one thing, I needed every knock back, every so called business expert telling me to give up and go home.  Arriving home soaking wet because I couldn’t afford my bus fare to get back from pitching events.

What or who has helped you to grow your business the most?

The Royal Society of Edinburgh & The Oil and Gas Innovation Centre (Aberdeen).  I was spotted at a pitching event and invited to pitch to a panel of experts at the Royal Society of Edinburgh, this secured a £47,000 award to continue developing the business. I then secured £240,000 in R&D support from the Oil and Gas innovation centre. And I have just closed my seed investment round for £200,000.

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced?

The sea of fakes and frauds that will try to attach themselves to SME’s in attempt to bleed them dry of grant funding and any financial support available. The promises of support, the guise of interest in you and what you do purely to line their own pockets.  It’s something that needs to be placed in the spotlight.

What are the future plans for your business?

I have a technical & fashion clothing line that will be released in stages as of Q1 next year, our new website is under development and I have been blown away by the development interest I have received by some huge name brands. 

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to set up their own business?

A bird fell frozen from a bow, as it lay lifeless, a cow passed and dropped a large pat on top of him, the pat began to warm the tiny bird. As his life returned he began to chirp in happiness. A passing cat lifted the bird from the pat and ate him.

The moral:

Not everyone that craps on you is your enemy, and not everyone that pulls you out of the crap is a friend. If you are in crap and happy, keep quiet.

Tell us something about you that isn’t commonly known.

Starwars super fan !

And finally, why did you join WeDO?

Because you are a genuine network of real business people who want to support each other.

Click on the logo above to visit the Iron Ocean website

Categories: Member Profile Interviews