A 22-year-old young entrepreneur from Bridgend, who has launched her own IT business specialising in repairs for hardware and software, refuses to let her autism diagnosis hold her back.
Caitlyn Sheldon has fast become a go-to IT business for tech support and repairs in South Wales following the launch of her company CVS-Technical Ltd – with the help of Welsh Government’s youth entrepreneurship service Big Ideas Wales.
Launched in March in a response to the current financial living crisis, founder Caitlyn Sheldon works alongside her customers to tailor the repairs to their personal budget while educating them on every step of the repair process in an effort to be a transparent, trusted business.
The young entrepreneur is on a mission to provide customers with a service they wouldn’t usually receive in the average tech store and to keep her prices competitive. Caitlyn prides herself on being not only an affordable company, but a sustainable one, working with Tech Ebay Sellers to secure high-quality, second-hand computer parts for her repairs.
kaitlyn, who was diagnosed with autism in 2014, reached out to Big Ideas Wales after deciding to pursue entrepreneurship during lockdown. Big Ideas Wales is part of Business Wales and funded by Welsh Government to support entrepreneurship in Wales. The service is aimed at anyone between the age of 5 and 25 who wants to develop a business idea, including students and graduates, as part of its commitment to the Young Person’s Guarantee.
She said: “I struggled to conform to the structured routine and expectations of a traditional 9-5 job in the past. But entrepreneurship has allowed me to work remotely and control my own deadlines and work-life balance. By running my own business, I can create a calm working environment which in turn helps me manage my autism.”
Now, with her start-up business launched, Caitlyn has been developing the corporate social responsibility of CVS Technical Ltd, using the business to be able to give back to her local community. Through the business, Caitlyn has sourced and upgraded second hand laptops and iPads to donate free-of-charge to Ukrainian refugees currently adjusting to life and education in Wales.
Caitlyn first came across the work of Big Ideas Wales while applying for Universal Credit and was quickly paired with Big Ideas Wales business Advisor Liz Hopkin who, during weekly meetings, provided support and advice on the fundamentals of running a business – from registering as a sole or limited trader, to insurance and advertising.
Alongside brainstorming ideas to grow her business, Caitlyn also sought financial support available to young entrepreneurs here in Wales and was pointed in the direction of the Welsh Government Barriers to Business grant. Caitlyn was successful in registering for the grant and used her money to upgrade her business tools, buy a new computer and register as a limited company.
Speaking about the benefits of running her own business, Caitlyn said: “Being an entrepreneur is so well-suited to my lifestyle. I’ve created my own unique working environment and have my family in the next room for support. None of this would be possible in a traditional role, nor would it be possible without the support of Big Ideas Wales.
“As a young disabled person, Big Ideas Wales took the time to pair me with an advisor that understands me, my condition, and my goals for my business. Big Ideas Wales showed me every pathway possible to achieving my entrepreneurial dreams and helped me to make them a reality at just 22 years old.”
Big Ideas Wales business advisor Liz Hopkin who said: “Initially Caitlyn expected everyone to turn up to their weekly Big Ideas Wales meetings in a suit and tie, armed with a full business plan, but was relieved to find that Big Ideas Wales is a service that moulds around the needs of the entrepreneur. We sat for hours discussing ideas and the ways in which we can make CVS Technical Ltd a sustainable, community-based company in which she could flourish as a young entrepreneur living with autism. It is wonderful to see Caitlyn’s business thriving, and I look forward to following her journey.”
As her business continues to expand, Caitlyn hopes to employ young women with an interest in tech, in an effort to give them career opportunities in a typically male-dominated sector.