Swindon & Wiltshire Business News

Friends who took a chance on video win Young Entrepreneur of the Year award

Dan Pettitt and Ben Lawton


Friends Ben Lawton and Dan Pettitt are celebrating after being awarded the title Young Entrepreneurs of the Year at the recent South West Business & Community Awards.

It was in February 2017, almost three years to the day (February 9), that Ottr Works came to life and friends Ben and Dan took a risk to start their own business.

Ben, who now lives in Old Town, Swindon, said: “Although we went to school our paths didn’t cross at that time. We weren’t friends as such though we did know each other. I went to New College to study public services and then went through a series of jobs from working with the police service, to hospitality to working in IT.

"I found with each job I got increasingly bored very quickly. When I met up with Dan again and he talked about video and the work he was doing, it seemed logical to jump right in.”

Dan, of Groundwell Road, said: “Like Ben, I did a qualification in public services and then I worked for a company and became increasingly involved in video production for their social media – and I loved it. I made videos in my own time too. My previous employer issued an ultimatum that I should only work for them so I saw that as my opportunity to embrace my own company.”

The friends, who are both 25, felt they were a good match in business. Dan is the creative brain and Ben runs the business, looking after operations, logistics and finances. The decision to work together has borne fruit with the business already hitting £100K turnover.

They were named Young Entrepreneurs of the Year at the third South West Business & Community Awards held at the Hilton by Doubletree in Swindon on January 23. This year, hundreds of businesses were nominated and even being shortlisted was a significant achievement with entries from Devon through to Bristol, Bath, Exeter and Swindon.

“Winning was completely unexpected,” Ben said. “We’re delighted to be recognised in this way and among our peers. It came in the same week that we moved into our new office in Devizes Road, Old Town so it’s been a week of celebration.”

Dan said: “We are thrilled with the award. We truly believe that video and visual story-telling will become increasingly important in business. We’re fast becoming a visually connected society and by the end of this year if you are not engaging in this way you’ll start to fall behind and you’ll gradually lose ground to those who are using video as a marketing tool.”

The Ottr Works team has provided video content for names including the National Trust, Great Western Railway and Catalent. This year will see them expanding their team as they are now recruiting a junior editor to join the team.

Pictured: Dan Pettitt and Ben Lawton