Hawkstone Developments

Hawkstone Developments is a Derbyshire-based design and build company that combines innovation and expertise to bring architectural visions to life. 

Partners Ben Dolman and Tom Halliday founded Hawkstone Developments during their final year at university. With a combined experience spanning over ten years, Ben and Tom bring their passion for the construction sector and wealth of industry knowledge to deliver exceptional architectural solutions that combine functionality with aesthetics and sustainability. 

Ben and Tom ignited their entrepreneurial aspirations during internships while studying for their undergraduate degrees. This first-hand exposure to the industry grew their understanding of business practices and highlighted the potential for them to carve their own path to becoming business owners. Armed with the knowledge and confidence acquired from their internships, they laid the foundations for their business with a clear vision.

Although they are still running the same architecture business they established at university, Ben and Tom are growing their business and diversifying to include property development.

A house with garden furniture

Support from the Innovation Hothouse

Ben and Tom believe their business has benefitted through their involvement with the University of Derby’s initiatives, such as the Innovation Hothouse. 

This platform provided Hawkstone Developments with access to valuable resources, mentorship and networking opportunities that enabled them to engage with organisations including NatWest Banking and the East Midlands Chamber. 

These connections have led to potential avenues for collaboration. For example, their connections to NatWest Banking have opened opportunities for financial guidance, support in accessing capital and tailored banking solutions to meet business needs. Similarly, their collaboration with East Midlands Chamber offers potential opportunities for networking, industry expertise and access to events that foster business growth and innovation within the region. 

By utilising these networks, as facilitated by the Innovation Hothouse, Ben and Tom are optimising opportunities for growth and positioning Hawkstone Developments for success.

This collaborative platform has provided invaluable opportunities for networking, mentorship, and access to resources that have significantly contributed to our business's evolution.” 

Other business support

In addition to benefitting from the University’s Innovation Hothouse, Ben and Tom have been able to expand their clientele and build relationships within the industry through marketing initiatives and networking, with both the University and the local community. As a result, the development of their reputation has led to increased project opportunities and revenue. 

Furthermore, their connections to the University’s Careers and Employment services have been instrumental in building meaningful partnerships and enhancing their recruitment strategies. They believe that “leveraging these connections has not only expanded our talent pool but has also cultivated a mutually beneficial relationship that underscores the university's commitment to nurturing entrepreneurial endeavours within its community.”

Their engagement with the University’s business support programmes, workshops and exhibition opportunities has kept them informed with the latest industry trends and best practices. As their business continues to grow and expand, they are interested in utilising more of the University’s resources, including the Business Lounge, which they believe could be a valuable office space.

Inside an apartment in a room with a dining table and lights

“We appreciate the University's commitment to fostering entrepreneurial initiatives and providing support to businesses like ours as we strive for success in the marketplace.”

Ben Dolman and Tom Halliday
Hawkstone Developments

Building the future

Ultimately, Ben and Tom would like to establish Hawkstone Developments as a full-service design and build firm, capable of managing every aspect of a project from conception to completion. 

In addition to continuing the growth of Hawkstone Developments, Ben and Tom would like to get involved in projects that benefit the community within the city of Derby. This entails both creating spaces that elevate the local environment and working with the University of Derby to provide opportunities for young professionals to get involved in upcoming developments. Ben and Tom hope that by assisting young people with their personal and professional growth, they will be able to echo the support that they received and give back to the community that fostered their passion. 

Overall, they believe their “goal is to establish ourselves as a prominent player in both the architecture and property development sectors, delivering innovative and sustainable solutions that positively impact our communities.” 

Advice for budding entrepreneurs 

Ben and Tom advise those who are interested in starting a business to start with what they know, embrace learning and build a strong community to both navigate challenges and celebrate successes. They say, “Stay committed and persistent: Entrepreneurship requires dedication, perseverance, and resilience. Be prepared to face obstacles, setbacks, and rejection along the way. Stay focused on your long-term vision, remain persistent in pursuing your goals, and never lose sight of why you started your business in the first place.”