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Gaming entrepreneur becomes youngest Leeds Trinity Honorary Fellow

Posted on 16 July 2019

news, news:Graduation, news:Alumni

​Gaming entrepreneur Ben Lawton has become the youngest Honorary Fellow of Leeds Trinity University today (Tuesday 16 July).

25-year-old Ben received the award for his dedication, focus and ambition as Managing Director of Custom Controllers Ltd.; the world's leading customised controller manufacturer.

Ben launched Custom Controllers in 2007, while still at Alder Community High School in Manchester. He began customising Xbox gaming controllers; spray-painting the components and installing additional buttons and modification chips. By the time he joined Leeds Trinity University as a Business student in 2012, he'd developed a website and began sourcing factories in China to help feed the demand.

After graduating in 2015, hiring staff and moving into bigger premises, Custom Controllers began collaborating with GAME. Ben was named Duke of York Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2015 and BQ's Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year in 2017. Now, the company produces 5,000 units every month. They have multiple factories in China, offices in the UK, USA and Asia, and are on track to turnover £4,000,000 in 2019.

Ben said: "It's an honour to receive this award today, from a University that has already given so much to me, both as a student and alumni. Even though I only graduated four years ago myself, so much has happened in those four years, so it feels like a long time since I was sat where the students are today.

"My parents and family continue to support me through all the right, and wrong, choices I make, and I'm really grateful for their continued encouragement. I'm pleased they're here today to celebrate with me."

During his acceptance speech, Ben paid tribute to Leeds Trinity Business Lecturer Hurol Ozcan, who sadly passed away in 2016.

He added: "Hurol provided enormous support to me whilst I was at Leeds Trinity and it seemed fitting to remember him today and thank him for all of his guidance. His memory lives on the Hurol Ozcan Enterprise Centre, where I had one of my very first offices for Custom Controllers, and I hope that other students will be inspired to consider starting their own businesses at the Enterprise Centre."

Professor Margaret A House OBE, Vice-Chancellor at Leeds Trinity University, said:

"We welcomed Ben to Leeds Trinity University in 2012 and have followed his journey with Custom Controllers over the last seven years with great enthusiasm and interest. The success of his business is a testament to his dedication, focus and ambition, and whilst he cites his parents, grandparents and close family as his inspiration, he is an inspiration to many of our students. His achievements are exemplary, and it is an absolute pleasure to present him with Honorary Fellowship today."

Ben is one of six outstanding individuals in their fields receiving Honorary Fellowships from Leeds Trinity University this week. Other recipients include Priest and broadcaster Reverend Kate Bottley, historian Professor Edward Spiers, journalist Hannah Thaxter, Screen Yorkshire CEO Sally Johnson and educator Simon Gallacher.

Ben received his Honorary Fellowship from Deborah McAndrew, Chancellor of Leeds Trinity University.​