Newport-based Chauffeur Harris defies pandemic with Welsh Development Bank-backed Luxstar start-up


Newport entrepreneur Carl Harris is looking beyond the Covid-19 pandemic by launching a new chauffeur business called Luxstar, with the backing of a £24,000 micro loan from the Development Bank of Wales, and support from Business Wales, Newport Council and UKSE.

Harris was faced with redundancy due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and decided to start his own business. With eight years’ professional driving experience, he has worked with the American Embassy providing services to congress, NATO, the US Coastguard, presidents and former presidents.

“I’ve been researching setting up my own business for a number of years. The rapports I had gained with people over the years, the knowledge taken from the clients I had driven, and the trust I was given led me on to explore opportunities to start my own chauffeur business with the high standards I was used to. Faced with redundancy because of the Covid 19 pandemic I decided now was the time to take the plunge and become my own boss,” he said.

“My first challenge was coming up with a robust business plan. I had a lot of knowledge of working in the transport industry but no experience in running my own company. I conducted market research and included all my findings in my business plan, which was scrutinised by the Development Bank of Wales.”

The loan was arranged on behalf of the Development Bank of Wales by Investment Executive Claire Vokes (pictured above with Carl Harris).

She said: “It has been a pleasure working with Carl through his funding application. With his dedication and help from Business Wales he was able to provide a robust business plan, which secured funding from the Development Bank of Wales for his start-up costs. He has a wealth of experience in professional driving and we look forward to seeing Luxstar and Carl flourish.”

Business Wales’ adviser Melanie Phipps helped Harris with his market research, legal set-up, pricing, insurance and bank accounts: “It has been a pleasure working with the Development Bank of Wales and Newport Council to help Carl get the necessary help, business skills and financial support to launch his dream venture. With his experience and despite the challenges we are all currently facing, I am convinced he will make Luxstar a success”, said Phipps.

Luxstar has also signed up to the Business Wales Green Growth Pledge, committing to reducing his impact on the environment by preventing waste and pollution.

Harris secured his operator’s license thanks to Alan Leen from the Newport licensing team, and he has sat a local knowledge test to enable him to gain a private hire license in Newport.