On 20 June, Cameron Edwards scooped the ESTnet Next Generation Tech Prize at the Wales Technology Awards.
His business, Dragon Aerospace, aims to reduce the cost of hobby rocketry whilst making parts more available. It pipped some impressive competition to the prize, voted for by the public via the Wales Technology Awards app. He also won £2,000 to invest in his fledgling business.
Away from Dragon Aerospace, Cameron is also active in politics - the Penarth resident is UK Youth Parliament Member for the Vale Of Glamorgan.
We caught up with Cameron to chat more about his plans for the future...
Congratulations on your big win at the #WalesTechAwards – how did it feel, and what plans to you have for your winnings?
It was amazing to get this award, and has increased my focus and resolve of making a successful business. I have already invested the prize money in to multiple 3D printers and rendering software which has helped me massively in producing my aerospace components.
How did you get into science and technology, and what got you into aerospace? Are there any people in particular that you can credit with helping you on your way?
I’ve always had a passion for science and technology and I knew I wanted to eventually get into the field but wasn’t sure how.
I really look up to the likes of Elon Musk and Peter Beck who are not only businessmen, but also engineers with goals they want to achieve. Aerospace has become a key area in technology and only in the past 10 years has space travel become accessible, with numerous aerospace companies starting up to get in to space.
Britain is falling behind in this new space race with the only orbital class rocket, the Black Arrow being discontinued in the early 70’s. I dream of getting Britain back to space.
When did you make your first rocket, and how did it go?
I made my first rocket about four years ago. The challenge wasn’t the rocket as such - the difficult part in particular was the engine and creating enough thrust from a sugar rocket motor.
The first 10 or 20 or so exploded, and it took me a long time before an actual successful launch. The rocket motors you can make at home are only sugar rocket motors with a low amount of thrust. I now use black powder motors.
What’s your thoughts on science and technology in Wales today – are there any companies or organisations doing work that you’re particularly excited by?
I think Wales is on the verge of a breakthrough in terms of technology. Wales appears to be attracting a large number of technology start-ups, and the number is constantly on the rise.
I rather like Amplify. They seem to be doing great work in the field of artificial intelligence and its companies similar to this one that will put Wales on the global stage when it comes to technology.
You’re also involved in the UK Youth Parliament – would you like to see more people in technology and enterprise take an active role in politics?
I am a member of Youth Parliament and a political activist - I would love to see more people engage in politics, especially those who work in technology.
People who run a business or work in cutting-edge technology know the immense opportunities a bit of funding could create for Wales and the rest of the UK. For that reason, I would encourage anyone who works in technology to get involved in politics and speak up.
How do you manage to juggle your various commitments?
Having many commitments is a very difficult task and it’s important not to overcommit, as you will find yourself not being able to achieve any of your goals.
I am willing to work very hard, that’s just part of me but you must be realistic about how much you can take on. I have sometimes had to let opportunities go due to my various commitments. It’s important to keep focused on your long-term goals and plan stepping stones toward achieving them.
Finally, what can we expect from you in the future?
I will work incredibly hard on growing my company whilst also gaining new skills. As I said before, I want Britain back in space and I am willing to work hard to achieve that goal - it’s going to be tough, but someone’s got to do it.