A marine biologist has merged his love of fish and aquariums with his degree to launch Affinity Aquarium Solutions.
Christopher Kent, from Kennoway, near Leven, set up the business in March, offering a wide range of services from aquarium set up and maintenance to water testing and fish dissection.
Already, the 30-year-old former sales rep, who gained his degree from Portsmouth University last June, has secured a raft of consumer and commercial clients including a care home in Midlothian and the Le Monde Hotel in Edinburgh.
Now, Christopher is set to use a £6400 grant from The Prince’s Trust, which he secured with the help of Business Gateway Fife, to set up a website, buy essential equipment, and put a deposit down on a van.
He said: “A former colleague suggested I speak with Business Gateway. I wasn’t sure how much help I would get but my adviser has been fantastic. By making me write a business plan she made really think about what I wanted to achieve and how I was going to do it. I also gained access to market research reports and company checks, and my adviser was the driving force behind the grant application. Her input and help ensured I received the funding, which is going to be essential in getting my business established.”
He added: “I’d initially tested the business idea while still in Portsmouth. Being a marine biologist I have a vast amount of knowledge and a greater understanding of fish and their environments than your average aquarist. That fact helped me secure work with the likes of Land Rover down south. Now, I’m using my skills, passion, and expertise to help provide fish with their optimum environment and in turn provide my clients with years of enjoyment from their aquariums.”
Marisa Yassen, Business Gateway said: “Although Chris is currently running his business while also working in a local aquatic and fish department, he hopes to work full-time for himself in the near future and the grant awarded by The Prince’s Trust will help him do just that. His extensive knowledge and passion for aquatics has already helped him secure repeat business, and with our help he has a clearer idea of how to run and grow his business to help keep up with the demand.”
Christopher’s love of the sea, fish, and nature arose after he spent his youth sailing, diving and snorkelling with his family. He then bought his first aquarium in his early 20s and quickly realised he loved the hobby.
He said: “I fell head over heels in love with aquariums. Not just because they are aesthetically pleasing, but because they have such a positive effect on your health and wellbeing. Studies have shown that aquariums can have a calming effect, reducing stress levels, and even lowering blood pressure. Developing the hobby made me realise just how much I loved the sea and nature which, in turn, inspired me to give up my job and return to education to gain my degree, and I’ve never looked back.”
For more information on Affinity Aquarium Solutions visit www.facebook.com/affinityaquariumsolutions
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