After a career protecting the lives of everyone from the most vulnerable to the world’s most powerful, Harry Welshman has finally put down roots in Sunderland where he’s launched his own security business.
When Covid-19 grounded international bodyguard Harry in the UK, he decided to use the time to set up his own company and plan his own long-term future.
Working with the Start Up Team at the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC), Harry set up Guardian International Security Group and is looking forward to sharing his unique experience with the next generation of security personnel.
He plans to train and employ homegrown talent, providing wide-ranging security services to different markets and specialising in the close protection of individuals at home and abroad.
Harry said: “I’ve worked for more than twenty years in private security, specialising in close protection of celebrities, business people and military personnel in hot spots around the world. I’ve also worked for NGOs, religious groups and clients who are at risk of harm and this very varied, on-the-ground experience, is what really differentiates my business from the competition.
“There are lots of training companies out there that can teach the theory from a textbook but they have little real-world experience.
“I plan to train first class security personnel by preparing them for what to really expect and how to cope with the unexpected situations that these things throw at you. I’m blunt and very real but that’s what you need to be prepared for the job!”
Harry’s career began in the military before he moved to New York to act as a bodyguard for a US senator. He then spent years delivering contracts around the world and was stopping off in the UK between work in Kosovo and Nigeria when Covid-19 hit and international travel became impossible.
He returned to Sunderland to be near friends and with no way of earning an income turned to Universal Credit for financial support. That’s how he found out about the Government’s New Enterprise Allowance Programme (NEA) which is designed to help those unemployed transition to becoming their own boss with mentoring whilst still in receipt of benefits. Once trading there is a small allowance paid too.
Through the scheme, Harry worked with the BIC’s Janice Marsh to consider his options and within three months he had keys for a city centre office and his new business was off the ground.
Harry added: “I don’t hang about! I knew what I wanted to do and Janice was brilliant at helping me to keep up that momentum. She kept everything simple and straightforward. She was in constant communication with me and she gave me a roadmap to get where I wanted to be.
“Having someone to talk things through with made a huge difference – it really took the pressure off by helping me to crystalise my thoughts and plans.”
Janice worked closely with Harry to put together a business plan, helping him consider the best structure for his company, where to be based and how he’d staff the business to achieve his ambitions.
Janice, Business Adviser and Trainer at the BIC said: “Harry is a perfect example of someone with entrepreneurial ambitions who has used the opportunity of lockdown to assess and change their future.
“It’s been a pleasure to help him put in place the foundations of what I’m sure will become an exciting and successful business and we wish him all the best for the next chapter.”
Harry was supported through the Enterprise Support in the North East 2 project which is part funded through the European Regional Development Fund.