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Jazz Shaper: Mike Welch OBE

Posted on 24 February 2023

Mike is a serial entrepreneur. After leaving school at 16, he set up his own tyre business from his childhood bedroom with a £500 grant from The Prince’s Trust.

He subsequently sold that business to Kwik Fit where he was hired as the group’s first Head of E-Commerce in the lead up to Ford’s £1 bn acquisition.

In 2001, Mike set up Blackcircles.com, the world’s first click-to-fit tyre retailer. The business was acquired by Michelin Plc for £50 mn in 2015. Mike took his leading e-commerce skills to the US, launching Tirescanner.com in Florida in 2019. The business entered a partnership with American Tire Distributors Inc. to form Tirebuyer.com. Mike became President and CEO of Tirebuyer.com in February 2021, one of America’s largest online tyre retailers with over 18,000 installers across the USA.

Mike was also Chairman of Atterley, the boutique fashion marketplace, from 2016 to 2021. His family office has a range of other interests, including many start-up investments.

Mike is Founder and Chairman of The Welch Trust (est. 2015) which supports children and young people. In 2016, he was awarded an OBE from the Queen for services to business and charity.


I feel like there’s certainly been a drive there to prove myself and make a mark.

I felt really lucky to have been taken into a loving family and the value I attributed to my mum and dad from a very, very early age was enormous.

I was certainly driven, there was a drive to try and prove that I was at least as good as the rest. There was a bit of a chip on my shoulder at an early age and thankfully I managed to shape that through my twenties.

I always felt like I was on a route to doing something much bigger - I knew I was going to do something.

I think sometimes if you’ve got too many choices, it can make decisions quite difficult.

Anxiety, which I’ve certainly had my fair share and a bit more of, comes from accountability and responsibility more than it does my personal failure or ego.

If I back at where I’ve really had the help to overcome my shortcomings or my lack of knowledge, it’s been by reaching out and asking people.

I’ve been very fortunate that people have helped me and supported me and certainly today, I try and do the same for others.

Understanding where other people’s talents lie and where their limitations are is leadership.

I think the important thing to me is that, whatever we do, whether it be the business, whether it be charity, we do the best we can possibly do. Often, that means being all in.

There’s a moral responsibility that I feel with everything that we embark on, in terms of getting it right and doing the best we can possibly do. I don’t want to do anything that delivers any less than 100%.

Whatever it is that I’m doing, I don’t want to be half-baked because otherwise I feel like it’s pointless doing it.

We’re in a great position to have an amazing impact in some of the areas that are important to us and we’re going to do that in a really meaningful way.

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