We often hear stories of those wanting to give back after achieving success, but so often it’s just talk. Steven Ward of Protech however, is bucking the trend and really committing to a cause, in a big way.
When Steven Ward sold his stake and shares in the successful training firm Profound, he could have just joined the local golf club, subscribed to Readers Digest and called it a day. But instead, the 60 year old entrepreneur embarked upon his biggest challenge to date, setting up a company that dedicates 50% of it’s time to IT equipment disposal and 50% to ‘paying it forward’ with both local and international charities.
Steven who was born and raised in Horden didn’t always have it easy. In his younger days, he worked on a milk round across East Durham prior to entering full-time employment with Peterlee based firm Charnos Clothing. Working as a runner for machinists Steven would earn £17 a week. In 2006 Steven became self-employed setting up Profound Services which would go on to employ 140 staff and become known in the local communities for its commitment to its corporate social responsibility programmes. Steven also played cricket at first class level for Durham County and locally for his beloved Horden CC. That attachment to the local and wider community stuck with Steven throughout his life
So… why? What compelled Steven to push ahead with Protech and set about changing the face of the industry? In Steven’s own words it’s about ‘Doing what you can, when you can, whenever you can.’ In an all too competitive and increasingly selfish world, Steven thought it was important to engineer ‘good’ into his next project and the business of Protech was perfectly positioned to help him realise his dream.
Specialising in the safe & secure disposal of IT equipment and data, Protech are able to turn one person’s waste into another’s opportunity by recycling and repurposing the hardware – “We’re able to pass this on at a vastly reduced amount, or in the case of our ‘Pay It Forward’ initiative for free – to those who don’t have access to the internet or technology, it’s a win win for us.” said Steven.
“So far we’ve seen equipment donated to schools in Africa and helped local charities get online – It’s extremely rewarding for me personally and for the team to see the results.”
Protech has recently rebranded with the help of Surreal, based in Newcastle, as it wanted to leverage it’s charity work more heavily and reposition the focus of the business to split its efforts in 2 areas – commercial and charitable.
“The brand work has helped us establish our true purpose and aligned our internal structure to match those of our aspiration to pay it forward and connect with like-minded people in the region who want to help.” said Ian Murphy, Operations Manager for Protech.
The company are one of the only ADISA accredited businesses in the North and are uniquely qualified to handle sensitive data deletion as well as the removal and disposal, or recycling of IT hardware, including mobile phones & tablets.
Steven and the team plan on building the ‘Pay It Forward’ programme more in the coming months. “I’d like to see us setup as a foundation in the not too distant future.” said Steven. “We’d like to see ‘Pay It Forward’ go national so we can continue to help those who need it most.”
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