Christian Verheyden swapped athletics for pyro-technics when a back injury forced him to give up a career as a javelin thrower.
Christian, 23, was a county champion and just breaking into the Great Britain team when he had to leave the sport. Reconsidering his options, he thought his childhood fascination with fireworks could form the basis of a business.
He spent a year researching suppliers, identifyingcustomers and attending short business start-up courses before securing a Pounds 5,000 loan from the Prince's YouthBusiness Trust.
Frontier Fireworks went into business in July 1996, designing, planning and staging firework displays, ranging from Pounds 500 shows for weddings and birthdays to public spectaculars costing several thousand pounds. But he says the career advice he was given at school did little to prepare him for starting his own business.
"What we mainly got told at school was what to do once we had passed our GCSEs. We were never told about self-employment as an option."
Despite having no previous experience in his chosen field, Christian's competitive spirit and painstaking research have paid off, and business is good - his schedule over Halloween and November 5 included seven displays in nine days. His message to other people considering self-employment is determinedly upbeat.
"So many people have got brilliant ideas but haven't got the confidence. But if there's something you really want to do, you will achieve it."
Frontier Fireworks can be contacted on 0181 654 6780