Royal Navy veteran, Sion Riley’s fish catches have been in high demand since he launched Holyhead Shellfish in July this year.
The 30-year-old took charge of fishing boat the Pan Arctic this summer following start-up micro loan from the Development Bank of Wales. He says demand for local Welsh seafood has not abated, despite the pandemic: “Working on the sea, fishing, and in my local community has always been a dream of mine. Nothing, not even a pandemic would stop me. No challenge is big enough to stop my dreams. My ambition has been rewarded by huge demand from local restaurants and wholesalers. It’s been a phenomenal experience so far.”
Sion became aware that a boat, with full fishing rights, was due to go on sale. He approached the boat’s owner about taking it over and then investigated what support was available for local start-ups on Anglesey.
“I approached Môn CF to find out what was out there for new businesses and for help to secure the funds to purchase the Pan Arctic. Alun from Môn CF put me in touch with Lowri at Business Wales and Sion at the Development Bank of Wales. Once everything was in place, with plans and facts and figures everything came together just nicely. I’m really thankful to both Mon CF and the Development Bank for their support during this start-up phase of the business.”
Siôn Wynne, Investment Executive at the Development Bank of Wales said: “Sion had a very clear vision for what he wanted to do and the future of his business. He’s hardworking and dedicated and has considerable seafaring experience from his time with the Royal Navy. We’re delighted to have been able to help him start his business and are excited to see Holyhead Shellfish grow. I’ve enjoyed working with Sion and Holyhead Shellfish and look forward to supporting other companies in the area in a similar way.”
Alun Roberts, Business Support Manager at Môn CF said: “We at Môn CF, through our ELAA project in Holyhead, are pleased to have been able to support Sion with his goal of starting his own fishing business. Sion’s commitment to making his dream a reality is impressive. We’re glad to have been able to put him in touch with Siôn at the Development Bank to help him start up. We enjoy working in partnership with other organisations who can support local entrepreneurs, like the Development Bank of Wales and Business Wales. We wish Sion well in his new endeavours and encourage anyone like Sion, who wants to pursue a dream of becoming their own boss, to get in touch.”
Lowri Roberts, Business Adviser at Business Wales said: “I was pleased that Business Wales were able to work closely with our partners in the Development Bank of Wales and Môn CF to help Sion Riley fulfil his ambitions and launch Holyhead Shellfish. We were able to help him develop his business plans and project future cash-flow. I look forward to seeing Sion go from strength-to-strength.”
Sion added: “Business is thriving. Even in the middle of a pandemic people still need to eat and we’ve had a lot of demand for our shellfish stock.”