New Wave Marine’s managing director Rob Bolton gives a Q&A interview with NatWest GBEA Online recently.

The Plymouth and Sidmouth based company is one of the South West’s fastest growing family businesses – and are shortlisted at the NatWest GBEA Awards ceremony in Cardiff on the 22 November, at a gala dinner for Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year Award.


Team New Wave Marine at the Family Business Awards in London earlier this year.


1. Please introduce yourself and briefly explain what your business does.

WE are Jason Parsons and Rob Bolton, directors and co-founders of NWM Ltd. We started the company 4.5yrs ago to provide high quality waste management and industrial services to marine and land based businesses.

The company specialises in the cleaning of confined spaces, where specialist breathing equipment is often required, along with innovative solutions to manage and handle the residues and wastes generated. The business has offered solutions to a wide range of organisations and institutions, including the MOD, blue chip infrastructure companies, large corporate service providers, universities and public-sector facilities.


2. What makes your company unique?

We are a relatively small business in an industry that tends to deliver the provision of service to clients through large corporate institutions, and we offer bespoke, adaptable solutions, where a change of procedure sometimes needs to be implemented quickly.

We offer customers a full spectrum of services that can often be high risk in terms of the conditions our highly trained staff have to operate in, so we install confidence in our customers that ensures that all operations undertaken by the business are done so safely and efficiently. 


3. Did you always want to become an entrepreneur?

Oh yes definitely.

You need determination and a continuous desire to build, develop, learn from mistakes and progress…it’s in our nature, and not everybody has that intuitive desire in wanting to be successful.


4. When did you eventually decide that the entrepreneurial life was for you?

We both worked for a number years as employees of medium sized businesses at senior management level, this instils a desire to want to be the ‘boss’, so when an opportunity arises, you take it, and that’s how we started NWM. Those opportunities tend to come from an adverse situation at the time, and that’s when the character of an entrepreneur tends to shine through.


5. Where do you get your inspiration from?

Inspiration comes from a desire to be successful, and build something that other people can benefit from. Often, we see a level of service being provided that does not seem to be quite right, if we can offer a level of service that meets the expectations of our customers, and we get repeat business and good referrals, then that inspires and lifts the whole team.


6. What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far? How did you overcome it and what did the process teach you?

Starting from scratch is a massive challenge, a very small fish in a big pond. We mitigated the issues of starting a small business by applying for funding through the Gain Growth Fund, and where fortunate enough to develop a business plan that was approved, in the end we were able to access £90,000 of funding which helped to launch us into the industry, invest in equipment and expand quickly.

The other significant challenge is that our size and lack of qualifying criteria has been a disadvantage when tendering for larger framework contracts, especially in the utility sector, and the MOD.

Again, we managed to slowly get a number of important ISO accreditations, and have recently been accepted onto framework tender portals that open up opportunities significantly.


7.  Can you describe a highlight of your entrepreneurial journey so far?

We have decided to move out of what is a quiet and restricting business park premises, and move to a much larger 2500m2 industrial space. This is significant as we have been restricted, like a balloon in a box that can’t expand and has filled all the corners. This is challenging, but the benefits will allow New Wave Marine to develop into its next phase of growth plans.


8.  Do you have any role models in business?

I have always admired any small business owner that has the spirit to drive their business forward.

I’m in complete admiration for local people that are not necessarily well known, or hit the business headlines. It’s very easy to mention the big guys like Branson and Musk, even though they are major examples of entrepreneurial flare, it’s not a level most of us will get too!


9. How would you describe your leadership style?

Considerate, rational, not always right, and do try to give others free reign to develop ideas, and a team player. 



10. What makes a great business team?

Commitment and attention to detail, and good inter-team communication.


11.  What piece of business advice would you give your younger self?

Start earlier, and don’t under rate yourself.


(End of interview)





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