DOM Smith set up Soundsphere between finishing his masters degree in magazine journalism and looking for his first job.

After moving into the Phoenix Centre incubation centre at York St John University last year, he was successful in obtaining £1,000 from the university’s Proof of Concept fund to turn his popular music website into the first edition of a printed magazine.

“While looking for work and getting copywriting work I decided to start the website. I had no overheads and a friend of mine from college designed me a website. I started interviewing local bands from Hull and York, Leeds and Manchester. The idea was very clear, music journalism specific to the north of England, including interviews with national and international bands when they came to play in the area,” he said.

It was Dom’s contacts that enabled him to build up the site, he said, and he called for help from connections he had made during internships on music magazines T3, Metal Hammer and Rock Sound.

“The music industry is the most generous in the world at helping people out. I started out with a Hotmail account, but no one ever said no to me when I asked for an interview.”

Local bands ensured his website got plenty of hits, encouraging fans, friends and family to read his articles. The site expanded and now has 30 volunteer writers, mainly students, and advertisers.

And when the print run of 1,000 copies of its first issue came out, the business made its £1,000 back and more to print a second issue, which is due out later this month.

Dom puts his success firmly down to his network, which in a large part includes being part of the Phoenix Centre. But it was a short period without any support at all which gave him the confidence to go into journalism in the first place. During his degree in Theatre, Film and TV at York St John University, Dom spent four months at Keene State University in New Hampshire, United States, studying broadcast journalism.

“It was the making of me,” he said.

Suffering from cerebral palsy, Dom walks with two sticks, which had always made the logistics of his chosen profession nerve-racking.

“I didn't know I could run around balancing on one stick and holding a Dictaphone. I was always really nervous about whether people would sit down with me, but all those questions were cleared up. They didn't know how to help me and I didn't have my family around to help me out. I just had to go do it and see how I did.

“I learned how to pull somebody out of a crowd which I had never done before and would never have known had I not gone to America. I was thrown in the deep end and really had to push myself. I asked: “Can I do this? Well, I might as well try”.

Now Dom’s disability is providing him with a new opportunity. His connections through the university and the Phoenix Centre have led him to speak to potential entrepreneurs at events for organisations such as Enterprise UK, and NYBEP.

During an Enterprise UK event, Dom met another disabled entrepreneur and decided to set up Disabled Entrepreneurs, a network to inspire other disabled entrepreneurs and share opportunities and support.

“I started on my computer. I didn’t need to run around at festivals to make it work. I did, but not everybody has that luxury. You can build your brand and business and take it out to people from there. It’s about the people you work with and your support network.”

Now they’re talking about establishing a magazine to fill the gap in the market for disabled entrepreneurs, which their network will create, promoting people’s stories and internship opportunities alongside news and current affairs.

“I’ve always been very lucky. There are people that don’t have that luxury or confidence and are struggling with far worse things than I will ever struggle with,” Dom said.

“I’m living my dream. This is everything I have ever wanted to do and then some.”

• Dom smith is going for Young Entrepreneur at The Press Business Awards.