From being stuck at home playing video games to chauffeuring celebrities in his own fleet of executive cars, life has radically changed in just two years for Graeme Stammers.

The Hetton-born entrepreneur says he regularly has ‘pinch me’ moments when glancing in the rear-view mirror to check on the VIP passengers of his corporate travel business Wearside Executive Limited.

His lifestyle today is a stark contrast to the situation that inspired him to launch the company he’s growing on the riverside at the North East BIC in Sunderland.

He explains: “Driving has always been my freedom because I was left with ill health after having cancer as a teenager so couldn’t do other jobs. My doctors said I was okay to drive so I decided to make a living working on the taxis.

“I’d been doing that for a decade when Covid hit and because I was considered clinically vulnerable, I had to isolate myself and could no longer work. Then I lost my dad to a stroke and a heart attack so things went from bad to worse.”

But Graeme’s luck was about to change, thanks to business inspiration that came in the shape of his late father’s beloved Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

He said: “My dad worked on the taxis too and I followed in his footsteps into the industry. He drove an old Dacia but saved up all of his life to buy his dream car which lived in the garage and was his absolute pride and joy.

“When he died, we desperately wanted to keep it in the family, rather than selling it and I had the idea to start using it as a wedding car. As Covid relaxed, bookings started to come in and I was really surprised by the demand. It got me thinking that perhaps I was onto something.”

After doing some research and seeking guidance from experts in the sector, Graeme realised there was a much bigger opportunity for an executive car business based in Sunderland.

In June 2023, he launched Wearside Executive Limited to offer corporate, personal, wedding and proms travel as affordably as possible. Less than a year later business is thriving, with major contracts, a full fleet of executive cars, a six-strong team of employees plus an extensive network of trusted contractors.

“Once my name was out there, things just exploded! Demand was uncontrollable,” Graeme added.

“I think people appreciated how upfront and honest I was with my pricing. Set prices mean everyone pays the same and everyone is treated with the same level of respect – whether they’re a celebrity or a neighbour from down the road.

“Winning our first major contract with Arriva UK to provide their corporate travel was a gamechanger. The trust they invested in us elevated us to a whole new level and work started to come in from other big businesses, the football clubs and private individuals.”

Wearside Executive’s move to new offices at the BIC is part of expansion plans and the location choice reflects future business with the new £450 million Crown Works Studios, which is being developed on the opposite side of the River Wear.

Graeme said: “It’s an exciting time to be in the city. Sunderland is coming up and I’m on the ground floor ready to go up with it. The new film studio is coming and I’m already on the supplier list. The conversations we are having are incredibly exciting.

“I have to pinch myself at times because my life has changed so quickly. One minute I was trapped in the house addicted to playing FIFA and the next I’m driving a big-name musician or actor in my car. It’s absolutely bonkers!

“I still get a bit overwhelmed by it all at times but I know my dad would be as proud as punch to see what I am achieving.”

Paul McEldon, Chief Executive at the BIC, said: “We’re over the moon that Graeme has chosen to expand his business here at the BIC and we’ll do everything we can to support this next exciting chapter.

“Wearside Executive are among a growing number of companies who are already keen to locate close to the Crown Works Studios site and we expect this demand to increase. Soon every sector will feel the benefit of this major development.”

For more information about the workspaces and support available at the North East BIC visit or call 0191 516 6200.