A self-taught web expert from Coleg Menai whose online games have been played an astounding 600 million times won a national award for his work recently.
Enterprise Officer Gaz Thomas was delighted when all his hard work was recognised, and he was presented with the award for establishing the most successful brand, an accolade sponsored by Wrexham Glyndwr University.
Digital Futures is a successful, annual conference that attracts around 100 business delegates per year. The event is now entering its third year, with keynote speakers from Google Garage Team and experts from Digital Leadership, Marketing and Branding incorporated into the programme.
Gaz started making websites and games as a hobby when he was a student. However, he soon decided to experiment and try to develop something that was both interesting and that might make some money. He said,
As a student, I didn't have much money, so I decided to teach myself how to make web games by following tutorials online. I was blown away when my first game was played over 100,000 times, and couldn't wait to make more!
A year ago, Gaz completely overhauled the website, making it fully compatible with tablets and phones in addition to computers. He said,
The popularity of web games has dramatically fallen as players have moved over to mobile games (apps). I decided to see if I could make a website relevant to mobile gamers. The results have been great. Visitors and user engagement has increased dramatically over the last 12 months.
Since the overhaul, Gaz's website FreeGames.org has been receiving more than 10,000 visitors on a daily basis. It has also achieved a BAFTA Wales Commendation and broken a Guinness World Record for the most viewed game walkthrough video.
I didn't find out about the World Record until several years later. Somebody sent me a message congratulating me!
As the Enterprise Officer for Coleg Menai, Gaz arranges workshops and activities to encourage students to think about entrepreneurship. He is available for advice and one-to-one sessions for students who have a business idea but who need some support and guidance.
I am obviously a strong advocate for entrepreneurship and am delighted that I can promote it at Coleg Menai. I am especially keen to promote the idea of a 10% entrepreneur, where you proactively test out a business idea in your spare time, which is how I started. Ask yourself - could you develop a hobby that might make money?
If you would like to see Gaz's website, please visit: https://freegames.org/
If you are a current student and would like some advice on entrepreneurship, please email Gaz at email@example.com