Meet the Members – Gethin Jones

“Think it, Say it, Do it”

Gethin has been with us here at Innovation Space for about 9 months now and let me tell you, he is a man with many stories. I never thought when I decided to do this blog series, that I’d speak to someone with such a different past to their present self.


He was born here in Portsmouth but didn’t have a great start in life. Being put into care at a young age didn’t go well for Gethin and he received his first criminal conviction at the age of 11. Continuing down this rocky path, he was expelled from school at 13 and was then given a custodial sentence at 14. He spent 8 years in prison and was a dependent heroin user.


It was 10 years ago when Gethin decided that he was done with his life as it was and made the choice to turn his life around. With no qualifications, no work history and no meaningful relationships in his life, the time to turn it all around was now. And turn it around he did.


Whilst attending night school to gain some basic qualifications and volunteering for 2 hours a week teaching young people how to sail, Gethin started to turn his life around. He was soon volunteering 5 days a week and it became apparent to Gethin that he wanted a career that would allow him to use his skills to support and work with young people.


He then went to work at the Portsmouth Foyer; a youth hostel for people aged 16-25. After 6 months, he was working in a full time position and after 18 months, he was a team leader supervising staff. Already Gethin had come so far from where he had been, but he wanted more. He knew he had more potential and other people saw that in him too.


After 2 years at the Foyer, Gethin then moved on to a job at Portsmouth City Council. You’re probably thinking exactly what I did when he told me this – “How did someone with that past record behind them get a job at the council?”.


People could overlook his past and see all the volunteering he’d done and his willingness to better himself. He started out as a youth worker and then went on to manage this service in the council. Following various restructures, he also managed the alcohol intervention service and created a health inequalities service.


But it was last year that Gethin felt like he could be doing a lot more. He wanted to be able to fund the projects he wanted to undertake without having to struggle to find the money from within the council.


This was when ‘Gethin Jones Unlocking Potential’ was created.


‘Unlocking Potential’ allows Gethin to inspire people through his stories to want to better themselves.


“The inspirational speeches are about letting people know that they don’t have to accept where they are no matter where they are in life. If you get to a point in life where you feel like everyone else is moving forward but you’re standing still, there are things you can do.”


His talks give people take-aways and ideas of what they can do to improve their life either personally or professionally. He then provides training and additional coaching where necessary, which is personalised for each person.


In every interview that I have done, I have asked a really silly question. I already know the answer before I ask it, but it’s nice to hear the reasons for the answer.


When asked if he enjoys his job, Gethin replied with, “There’s that saying ‘If you do what you love, you love what you do’”. He really enjoys being around the people he meets through his job and he never feels like he’s working.


If work doesn’t feel like work, I think that’s when you know that you’re in the best place for you. And that’s exactly where Gethin is at.


Through his vibrant past, he has emerged as a man with stories and a passion for inspiring others.


His motto is ‘Think it, say it, do it’.


“If you have an idea but you just think about it, your brain will talk you out of it.”


The best thing to do as an entrepreneur is to take those thoughts and ideas and say them to people who support you. Get their feedback. It could be the best idea they’ve ever heard or it could still need a bit of planning. But either way, you can start the ‘do it’ stage. Start making that idea happen.


Gethin’s plans for the future of ‘Unlocking Potential’ are to first become a limited company. He would then like to be selling his company manual, if you will, to companies. 30% of the money the companies pay for this will go into creating three CICs (Community Interest Companies). There will be one for domestic abuse, one for young person’s early help and one for the rehabilitation of ex offenders.


You can get in contact with Gethin at or visit his website at


It was a pleasure to get to know Gethin and hear his stories first hand. It’s always interesting hearing how people have come from where they did and ended up where they are today.

Hugging in the workplace?


If a family member or close friend goes in for a hug, you probably don’t think twice about it. But what about when a work colleague starts approaching with arms out for a hug?


We’re all aware that you’re either a hugger or you’re not in this world and that’s all fine and dandy, until someone from the office comes back from a long holiday or leave and you’re left with the decision of how to greet them. Do you go up to them arms wide open ready for a bear hug, give them a polite handshake, go in for a smooth high five, or just sit at your desk and offer up a friendly smile?


I’m not particularly a hugger myself, at least not in the workplace. Hugs are reserved for family and close friends; I can’t even imagine hugging a colleague. So if someone from the office came up to me and was going in for a hug, I think I’d have to resign to the fact that it was happening and just get it over with. Sure, it would be awkward for myself but I feel like stopping them before it happened to say no to the hug would cause a bit of strange situation between the two of us. I’d be left feeling awkward that I’d denied them a harmless hug and they would be left feeling embarrassed.


For people like me who think hugging doesn’t really have a place in the office, we could soon be thrown into one of our worst nightmares; a hug-loving workspace.


With an increasing popularity in relaxed workplaces, hugging is beginning to be commonplace in the office. For most people, this isn’t anything they will overly think about but if you’re like me and think hugging really isn’t something to do at work, you’re going to struggle with this adapting etiquette.


I feel like workplaces are becoming more sociable and informal which, whilst it may not be a bad thing, is something to take note of. Should we not focus on professionalism in the workplace?


Hugging, I feel, is a very informal greeting or display of affection and therefore not really suited to a workplace. I think the meaning of a hug can be misconstrued very easily and so has no place in an office.


Although it is not an office space, a survey of the US fast food industry found that more than a quarter of the workers felt as though they were hugged inappropriately. I believe that this is something that could be said for any number of workplaces where hugging is now common.


Unless you are aware of the reason for the hug and both parties are happy to hug, it’s somewhat of a minefield. Everyone has different thoughts on where hugging is or isn’t appropriate and whether or not they like it, and so in a workplace I don’t think hugging is the best option for greeting people. If you’re both close and have an understanding of each other’s boundaries then yes, by all means go forth and bear hug. But hugging someone you’re not really familiar with? It’s a no from me.
Perhaps the best way to sum up my view and that of many others, would be with a quote from Adina Zaiontz, chief executive of Napkin Marketing in Toronto; “No matter what you think, your work friends are different than your real friends. Your real friends can’t call HR on you.”

How networking can improve your business

Networking is one of the main elements that define the success of a business. In fact, from my personal experience, a single referrral can make a difference on how much your business will improve and go forward. This is why it is important to make time and efforts worthwhile in networking groups.  In this video, Gethin Jones goes over the benefits of networking and working in an open plan office at Innovation Space altogether. To find more about Gethin and how to book a 1:1 session with him, click here

Gethin Jones is an Inspirational speaker and Development coach who has a track record of supporting teams through organisational change.  His expertise lies in motivating and coaching individuals through personal and professional development. As one of our valued members, at Innovation Space, Gethin explains the clear benefits of working at Innovation Space in a recent interview with Team Locals.  Check out the video above to find out the difference working at Innovation Space has had on Gethin’s business and why he enjoys working here. His moto is:  “I believe that as new businesses we need not to just look at what we can sell or get from others but what support we can offer each other so we can all succeed”

You can find more about him here

New Year, New Start!


New Year, New Start!

It’s already 2017 and just when we thought the Christmas shopping craze has calmed down.  Here comes the January sale with all the temptations!

Many of us started the New Year with motivation, and exciting resolutions hoping that we will adhere to those resolutions throughout the year! Some of you might also be starting a new business or expanding your existing business.  The New Year is always a good time to review your Marketing Strategy, Business Plan and how it can impact your business positively.  In line with the working spaces that we offer at Innovation Space, we are also offering a range of free exciting business events for this year!  It is a great opportunity to meet a wide range of businesses seeking advice on how they can develop and strengthen their business, improving their sales and safeguarding their long-term sustainability. Every Wednesday, Innovation Space offers a business support event aimed at helping business owners get the help and advice they need to keep their company moving in the right direction.

All of our events are free to attend to anyone, all we ask is that you sign up through our Eventbrite page.

We are also looking forward to another Business Event on Saturday the 4th of February Start Your Business 2017. A free Startup Portsmouth event to get your business started. If you are at ideas stage, just starting out, looking for office space or just want a helping hand then this event will have something for you. click here to register.

Looking forward to see you at our upcoming events!


written by Tasleemah Bungshy



A year in Innovation Space….

It’s been a wonderfully busy year for us here at Innovation Space. The nature of our space means we are always open to variety and change and we have enjoyed a lot of that this year!

We started off the year by launching our new website. We really wanted to push our brand out there even more and showcase what we offer here at Innovation Space. Since then we have kept it fresh and current by adding some pages and displaying some of our members on the site. We couldn’t and wouldn’t be without our members here and changing our website slightly to really focus on them and what they get from basing their business here is at the core of everything we do.

Throughout the year we have continued to run our extensive events programme – this year alone 558 people have registered for one of our Wednesday events. Every Wednesday evening at 5:30pm we warmly welcome one of our speakers to present, many of our speakers are or have been one of our wonderful members within our space. We’ve had a range of topics covered this year from Digital Marketing, Productivity to Branding and Bookkeeping. We have also began to introduce coaching style events to our offering. All of our events are free to attend to anyone, all we ask is that you sign up through our Eventbrite page. The events have been and will continue to be a great source of information, knowledge building and a great opportunity to make connections.

In March we attended the Enterprise Showcase – this was an event ran by the Nest team who provide the student and graduate incubator based within Innovation Space. The Enterprise Showcase was an exhibition of student and graduate businesses who were showcasing their work, businesses and experiences. It was followed by an awards ceremony where previous Innovation Space member – Kunle Adetayo won the Student and Graduate Start-up of the Year award with his company JustFastFood.

We have sadly said goodbye to Andy Mew as well as some of our members over the last year, however we have also welcomed a new management team at Innovation Space as well as lots of new faces – currently our membership is at a peak. In the last couple of months we have seen a rise in new joiners which has been fantastic and added more value to our community vibe.


To celebrate the success of 2016, we are offering all new members who sign up in December the whole of January 2017 free!  We hope this will encourage more people looking for a fresh start in the new year to consider joining us. Call us on 02392 847 000 to organise a tour or book a space.

As the year is coming to a close, we’ve just celebrated with our Christmas Party – a great chance to unwind and relax. I personally want to thank all of our members for being such a brilliant part of our space this year, I hope our community will be joined by many new faces in 2017.

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.