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How Ben Ewart grew Hull electrical firm from teenage bedroom to £1m company

A Hull entrepreneur who started his business on eBay as a teenager has now grown it into a £1m turnover company.

Ben Ewart, now 26, is the director at Switch Electronics, which sells a range of components including sensors, wires and fuses.

The inspirational business owner spotted a gap in the market as a teenager to buy electrical components directly from manufacturers in China, and sell them at cheaper prices than UK retailers including Maplin.

Over the last seven years, Ben has grown his business from a single eBay shop to a million pound company with five staff and a large warehouse in Sutton Fields in Hull.

Ben said: “I was 19 when I began importing a few bits from China, and selling them on eBay. I think I started out with about £500 in my pocket.

Ben Ewart started Switch Electronics when he was 19
(Image: Peter Harbour)

“The original aim was to be a professional golfer, and was doing this in my spare time. It eventually got to a point where it was expanding so fast that the other job I was doing became a bit redundant.

“When I was 21, I got my first warehouse space in Beverley, and it grew from there.”

Ben said he had always had a passion for business.

Inspired by tycoons including Lord Alan Sugar, Richard Branson, Elon Musk and Peter Jones, Ben said once the business had moved into premises in Beverley, he quickly began to expand his product range.

With a USP of undercutting rivals for price, Ben quickly outgrew his first warehouse in Beverley.

From left, Nick Sowerby, Becky Lovelock, Ben Ewart and Hannah Ewart outside the warehouse.
(Image: Peter Harbour)

“I bought another warehouse across the road from the first one in Beverley, and had both for a period of time,” he said.

“Because I do not go to wholesalers – I go directly to the manufacturer itself – I can get the products a lot cheaper.

“After a few years in Beverley, I needed more space, so I got one large warehouse in Sutton Fields in Hull and merged the existing places together.”

Today, Switch Electronics employs five people, and sells goods through its own website, Amazon and eBay.

The company also has a trade counter at its site in Hull.

Ben Ewart started Switch Electronics when he was 19
Ben Ewart started Switch Electronics when he was 19
(Image: Peter Harbour)

Despite the impressive growth though, Ben has ambitions to scale the business up further.

“In the near future I will probably have to move again,” he said.

“I need a bigger space, and we want to take a few more people on as well. In the industry there are some really big names, and one day I would like to get to where they are today.

“We currently turnover £1m a year, but I would like to become a £10-15m turnover business.”

When asked for his advice to aspiring your entrepreneurs in Hull, Ben said: “My best piece of advice would be to just go for it.

Ben Ewart, now 26, is the director at Switch Electronics
Ben Ewart, now 26, is the director at Switch Electronics
(Image: Peter Harbour)

“Starting a business when you are a teenager is the perfect time, because you haven’t got as much to lose.

“When you get older you end up with a mortgage to pay and a family, and you need that reliable income. But when you are younger, I think you can afford to take more of a risk.

“Just take the risk and go for it.”

Switch Electronics is based at the Hamburg Technology Park in Hull.

It is now one of the fastest growing distributors of electrical components in the UK.

You can visit its website at www.switchelectronics.co.uk

How to contact Phil Winter and Business Live

Business Live’s Hull & East Yorkshire journalist is Phil Winter, also the business editor at the Hull Daily Mail and Hull Live.

You can follow Phil on Twitter @PhilWinterBiz, or on Linkedin by clicking here.

Alternatively, email him on philip.winter@reachplc.com, or call 01482 315360.

Keep up to date with the latest business news in the Hull & Humber region here.

Follow @HumberBizEd and @businesslive on Twitter

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