A college learner from South Wales has used the lockdown as an opportunity to start his own business and follow his dream of owning his very own photography studio.

Eighteen-year-old Euan Balman, from Llantrisant, is set to open his own studio this summer, after spending the last five months renovating and kitting out an empty workshop in his hometown.

Euan, who is currently studying a Level 3 creative media technology qualification at Coleg y Cymoedd, has been passionate about photography ever since he received a digital camera for his eighth birthday. Since then, he has continued to develop his skills and has spent countless hours photographing Welsh landscapes.

After recently receiving his very first commission for a shot of a sunset over the old town of Llantrisant, Euan was inspired to pursue his goal of becoming a professional photographer and hosting his own exhibition to display his work.

The talented teenager has opted against university, instead choosing to team up with his mum Delyth, who was made redundant from her job in education during the pandemic, suggesting that they create a new family business, ‘MADEcreative’.

The family received a Barriers Grant from Business Wales to help get the business off the ground and have been busy the last five months developing the new studio space, which is located at the old Model House in Llantrisant town centre, with Euan getting stuck in with the renovations to cut down on costs.

As well as hosting a permanent exhibition to display and sell his work, Euan will also offer a range of photography services out of the studio including private commissions, family portraits and product and marketing services for commercial clients, while Delyth will oversee the running of the business.

With the final changes being made to the new space, the studio is due to open at the end of June once Euan has finished college.

Euan said: “I have loved photography for as long as I can remember, especially landscape shots, and have been spoilt for choice living in Wales with so many beautiful places around me to capture. I knew I wanted to make a career out of photography and having my own studio has always been the ultimate dream.

“Due to Covid, I haven’t had the option to have my work on display so I’m looking forward to finally being able to host an exhibition. I’m so excited to open my own studio and to welcome my first clients – it’s been so rewarding seeing everything come together over the last few months. This next year is going to be a huge one for me as I start my career and I can’t wait to see where it takes me. I’m so thankful to everyone who has helped make this possible including my tutors at college, the team at Big Ideas Wales and my mum for supporting my idea.”

Euan has received support to start the venture from Big Ideas Wales – the youth entrepreneurship service part of Business Wales – which is aimed at anyone between the age of 5 and 25 who wants to develop a business idea. The service provided Euan with mentorship and assisted him to develop the business plan that was submitted to Business Wales for funding.

Coleg y Cymoedd’s Futures team, which is dedicated to helping learners at the college bring business ideas to life, has also helped Euan to set up his own business while completing his college studies. The team has helped to connect him with industry partners and supported the entire process.

Lesley Cottrell, Enterprise, Skills and Employability Manager at Coleg y Cymoedd said: “Euan’s obvious skill and passion for photography, along with his clear drive to start his own business has been incredibly impressive and we are proud to have Euan as one of our learners at the college.

“We are pleased to have helped him in his journey and wish him all the best with his new business venture.”