Financial Services

Published: May 1, 2020 | Updated: May 1, 2020

A taste of Honey – City work experience gives Cameron, 20, a buzz for starting own business

Cameron Small, Managing Director, Honey Asset Finance Ltd (centre), with fellow directors Guy and Joanne Small.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

Cameron Small hit on one very big idea for a business while on school work experience in the City of London.

The keen rugby player was tackling a fortnight’s assignment at HSBC’s corporate banking offices followed by a spell with Investec Asset Management in the capital.

He said: “I was sitting at my desk and they were discussing having brokers in the likes of Bristol and Cornwall but nothing in Dorset.

“It sowed a tiny seed in my mind.”

The then student at The Thomas Hardye School in Dorchester, who had already decided the corporate world was not for him, mentioned starting a business to his father, Guy.

It would be an independent brokerage providing flexible finance packages for businesses.

“Guy said ‘that’s a good idea’ and I’ve never really looked back since then,” said Cameron, now 20.

Next step was to choose a name.

At the time, Cameron was enjoying honey on his porridge and, of course, bees work together to help others.

Also the individual letters of the word ‘honey’ described the approach he wanted for his new venture.

Honesty, Openness, Network, Encouragement and Yes we can.

A week later – December 2017 – Honey Asset Finance Ltd was incorporated as a limited company with Cameron, then just 18, at the helm.

And now?

Last year saw the Dorchester-based business, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, fund £5.75m worth of business assets.

They ranged from a food processing unit in South Wales to solar equipment for a Cornish business and various trucks and vehicles.

A key area is agricultural assets, from tractors and combine harvesters to trailers and attachments.

Meanwhile Guy is going full-time with Honey Asset Finance from later next month while Cameron’s mum, Joanne, is also a director.

So what sort of reaction does Cameron, who plays forward position for Sherborne Rugby Club’s Seconds, get from his older clients when they see how young he is?

Cameron, pictured holding the ball, plays for Sherborne Rugby Club’s Seconds.

“There is a certain stigma but clients are only aware of it when we have a meeting. Most of the time it’s phone calls and emails.

“I am young but I’m exceptionally hard-working and put absolutely everything, and more, into the business,” he said.

These are difficult and challenging times for many businesses so what advice does Honey Asset Finance have?

“Look at the assets in your business and consider the option of refinancing.

“This has the benefit of allowing you to retain the assets while providing much-needed cash.

“I expect us to do a lot of refinancing packages over the coming weeks as the full impact of the pandemic sets in.

“Inevitably there will probably be a drop in the number of deals we do.

“However,  August and September are normally busy months for us and, hopefully, this year will be no different.”

As for the career path that Cameron has chosen to take, he said: “I am proud of what I’ve done and the business we’ve created.

“The big city life and the corporate world just never appealed to me.

“We’ve built a very ethical business but I’ve also achieved a good work-life balance.

“I’m optimistic for the future.”