Wolfestone Translation Director Anna Bastek has dominated the recent Swansea Bay Woman of the Year awards, winning her category for Swansea Bay Business Woman of the Year for Wolfestone Translation and then going on to take the overall title of “Swansea Bay Woman of the Year 2009” at yet another prestigious ceremony, in the Brangwyn Hall, Swansea. This was the 6th time the awards have been held, and she is thus adding her name to an elite group of very talented high achievers. The awards were hosted by Sara Edwards, and the hugely anticipated guest speaker was Ruth Jones, of Gavin and Stacey fame. All of Wolfestone’s female employees and Anna’s business partner Roy Allkin were present, and they elevated the noise levels considerably upon the announcement of this year’s winner.
Miss Bastek came from Poland to Wales in 2004, initially to write her thesis for a Masters degree in Marketing. Upon completing this, she decided to pursue a business career in South Wales. She undertook a 10 week GO Wales placement which resulted in her host company, Quantum CAD, immediately taking her on as a permanent employee. She eventually became the Marketing Director, presiding over a growth of approximately 700% in turnover and an expansion in staff from 2 to 20. This was not sufficient for her ambitions, though, and she decided to concentrate on building her own business.
Miss Bastek and her business partner Roy Allkin undertook in-depth research into several potential areas of business before deciding that the business sector with the most potential was translation and language services. This area is on course, according to expert projections, to be worth an estimated £15 billion pounds by 2013 versus the current £9 billion. Wolfestone Translation was founded, run at first in their spare time whilst they held down their day jobs. 3 years later, both are now full-time directors of the company and it is exceptionally well-placed to tap into the huge growth potential of the global translation market. Translation is the core business; however the company has developed a series of complementary language services that add to the diversity of operations. More recently, Wolfestone has developed a bespoke software package for translation companies which will help the company expand internationally as well as grow its team in Swansea.
As well as its 15 strong team in its Welsh HQ, Wolfestone has additional staff working from its US and German offices plus a network of 4,000 translators across the globe.
They have also been astute enough to recognise complimentary business opportunities which are fast becoming substantial money-spinners independent of the main company.One example of this is Bluestone Systems, which came into existence when Bastek and Allkin realised that there were unrealised possibilities not just in translating company websites, an area fast developing, but also construction and maintenance of these sites as a precursor to the translation project.
So, which of her many achievements is she most proud of and what does Anna Bastek see as her future?
“I am extremely proud of how I have built a successful international and award winning business from scratch, in the worst recession since 1930s” she said. “I have only been in Great Britain for a few years, and there have been significant challenges to overcome, but I now have a young, dynamic and successful team. We have offices in Germany and the US, purchased our own premises and more than doubled our turnover year on year. I am currently focussing on developing the Wolfestone brand still further, as there is still a huge opportunity for growth in the translation industry, and I want to make sure that we take full advantage of this.”
“In the longer term, we want to expand our overseas operations. Our office in the US has just opened, again with phenomenal potential, our German office is growing and I view it as imperative that we have a presence in all regions of the world as quickly as we can sensibly accomplish this. We are currently looking at India, the Middle East, China and Russia, but those will be the starting points, not the end.”
“On a personal level, I am looking to gain complete financial freedom, which would help me travel more and, possibly, write a book. I am also looking at venture capitalism in order to support innovative new ideas and help other people to achieve their potential. There are so many women out there who could help grow the economy faster, so if I can act as an ambassador for female businesspeople; that would be a dream come true. At some point I also wish to further develop my photography skills, a hobby which is also great for helping me relax. I just need to find more time to do all this!”
So, if she was asked what her life’s motto is, what her ethos is, and what she is trying to do? She is succinct and to the point. The Swansea Woman of the Year quotes Sarah Tremellen of Bravissimo.
“I never saw a ceiling for it, I just thought it would be fun, setting up from scratch and making something from nothing.”