Escape Room Entrepreneur

I am based in Essex, married to Justina, and Dad to Ryan (9) and Amelia (7)…

I’ve worked hard setting up businesses and learning how to make them work effectively so that they don’t take over my life.

I also help other businesses and organisations understand how they can run more efficiently, target more customers, make more profit, and grow.

In 2016 I began work to start an Escape Room company, we’re now one of the fastest growing Escape businesses in the UK.

Family will always come first, then pleasure, then work.

Here are the businesses I am involved in; I’m proud of all of them, we have a great team of people…

Know Escape Ltd
Status: Trading
Role: Managing Director
Responsibilities: Setup, growth and logistics

From small beginnings this business has grown faster than any I’ve worked on, with sites so far in:

We deliver outstanding escape room adventures for people of all ages and abilities.

When I’m not working at an operational level, I help write games and source props.  After nearly twenty years of sitting behind a computer this business is my escape from reality and helps to keep me insane.

Know Escape Franchise Ltd
Status: Trading
Role: Managing Director
Responsibilities: Setup, growth and logistics

A brand new business delivering:

  • Know Escape – Escape Room Franchises
  • Bust-Out – Escape Room and Vehicle Franchises
  • Escape Room Consultancy and Room Writing Services


Creative Learning Systems Ltd
Status: Trading
Role: Business Development Director (Since: October 2017)
Previously: Operations Director (March 2011 – October 2017)
Responsibilities: Business development

A commercial venture working to make learning more engaging through the use of new and emerging technologies.

Core services include:

  • elearning off the shelf and custom systems
  • elearning course design (from scratch, redesign and conversion)
  • adaptation from classroom to online delivery

Our team are global, we deliver learning solutions for business, education, healthcare, sport and government worldwide.

I am frequently offshore managing development plans and teams.

Chelmsford Community Radio C.I.C
Status: Online, on app, and on 104.4fm
Ownership: 50% Guardian
Role: Off Air Director (Since: January 2013)
Responsibilities: Fundraising, business development

This is the community radio station for Chelmsford I helped to setup.

The station hosts 62 hours of live local programming a week, and has produced over 13,000 shows which are all available online through a listen again services.  Eleven of our volunteers have moved into jobs in commercial radio. Three professional studios are paid for by our community coffee shop.

I have successfully sourced five grants for CCR

  • National Lottery Awards for All (2014) Disability Studio Desk
  • National Lottery Awards for All (2016) Community Coffee Shop move and refurbishment
  • Inclusion Trust (2016) FM Aerial Transmitter
  • National Lottery Awards for All (2018) Disability Studio Extension
  • OFCOM (2018) Business Development Manager

Chelmsford is the birthplace of radio.

Coffee at the Mill
Status: Trading
Role: Advisor
Responsibilities: Guidance

This is the funding arm of Chelmsford Community Radio.

The coffee shop was given to the radio station in 2014 and we’ve successfully turned it from failure into a successful coffee shop.  All profits made from the coffee shop pay the rent for Chelmsford Community Radio studios, and also fund community projects.

In 2016 I won funding from the National Lottery Awards for All for the Coffee Shop to be moved into a more prominent location to attract more footfall, the business continues to grow.

The business has had two health inspections, achieving 5 star status (the highest award) each time.

I advise and guide the business.


Since 2000 Matthew has worked on learning, research, implementaion and turnaround projects all over the globe for schools, colleges and universities, and organisations that include:

  • Oracle
  • Apple
  • Microsoft
  • Channel 4
  • V&A
  • British Council
  • British Youth Council
  • RNLI
  • Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Trust
  • Becta
  • NCSL
  • Department for Education
  • Creative Partnerships
  • London Business School
  • London School of Economics
  • BBC (BBC Learning, BBC Wales, BBC Northern Ireland, and Children’s BBC).


  • Diagnosed with dyslexia aged nine, struggled with traditional teaching and learning.
  • Performed well in GCSE’s (except Maths and English!) by selecting where possible subjects that allowed independent flexible learning, creative thinking and problem solving.
  • Spent evenings and weekends during College/University years juggling between running the Checkout department for a Tesco store and delivering activity programmes as volunteer at a youth organisation.
  • Graduated in 2000 with a First Class BSc. (Hons) degree in Business Information Systems.
  • First proper job (Ultralab) came from a conversation during a shower of rain.
  • Working with companies and organisations all over the world to identify solutions and  savings through the implementation of new and emerging technologies and software solutions.
  • CLS Team

Some of the UK CLS Team Going ‘Up and Over the o2’

Previously involved in:

Cleveratom Ltd
Status: Dissolved
Role: Creative Director (January 2007 – March 2011)
Responsibilities: Delivering Creative Projects

A  company supplying innovative software solutions into business, education, sport, healthcare and government.

Cleveratom grew fast, delivering high profile learning and creative projects to organisations including the BBC.   The company worked on high level government projects, employing designers, developers and trainers.

When David Cameron took over the country in 2010 and axed the quangos too fast we lost hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of Government contracts in a matter of weeks, and were sent into administration.

It really wasn’t our fault, but I learned a lot about how to mitigate government change risk and avoid future failures.

Hope Footwear Ltd
Status: Dissolved
Role: Advisor (July 2010 – March 2011)
Responsibilities: Director

This was the High Street shop my wife and I piloted in the Meadows Shopping Centre, Chelmsford on the site of a former Faith Footwear Store.  Justina worked for Faith in a managerial role; when Faith went bust we reopened her favourite store, rehiring all staff, and bringing back key suppliers.

We ultimately closed Hope down after seven months, the economy was so bad at that time that most shoppers were unwilling to spend, and the overheads remained the same.

The monthly rates on the store was £5109!

The reason the High Street is in such a mess is risk averse banks and our greedy government choking businesses though excessive rates.

In a good economy this business had the ingredients to succeed, but in good business you can’t get emotionally attached and must know when to walk away from a money pit.

Rolling Stage Hire Ltd

Status: Trading
Role: Silent Partner (Since: October 2017)
Silent Partner: (March 2014 – July 2018)

Rolling Stage Hire Ltd, is a commercial stage hire company with innovative solutions for live events. The original truck was purchased on ebay as a cheeky bid; in its previous life it worked for GCap Media, travelling out to events and hosting artists such as Kylie, Steps and Westlife.

After years in hibernation we bought the truck, refitted her, and put her to work.  In the interests of not being in a field at 2am anymore, I sold my stake in this one.

Leave a Reply