New Business Success Stories
Helen Patilla – Elephant Rooms
I have been a self-employed therapist for 12 years working from home and Derby Women’s Centre. Firstly, as a Shiatsu Therapist and more recently as a Psychotherapist.
Elephant Rooms is a not for profit social enterprise specialising in the provision of a safe and tranquil environment for the promotion of community health and wellbeing. The vision is: To provide a diverse range of natural therapies, classes and workshops promoting health and wellbeing for the local community.
The objective is to provide something for everyone; a wide range of therapies and treatments across the spectrum focussed on natural health and wellbeing.
There are numerous reasons which lead me to start Elephant Rooms – firstly I fell in love with the building when it was the Beetroot Tree Art Gallery and always felt it would make a great therapy centre. Secondly the Women’s centre lost it’s funding for counselling. Most therapies are too expensive for people on low incomes and benefits and I have always been passionate about providing a service that is affordable to all. I set up Elephant Rooms with the vision to be able to bridge the gap between what somebody can afford to pay and a therapist not working for less than the minimum wage!
The biggest barrier I faced was myself! I had no experience of business management, no social media skills or any idea of what to expect in setting up and running a small business. The D2 Business Starter Programme and Erewash Partnership Ltd helped me on the road to launching my business by providing sound advice though one to one mentoring. I also attended a range of workshops EPL set up which are geared towards what you need to know about starting out. One on one support from a business mentor helps you hone your ideas.
My aim is to keep putting one foot in front of the other. To let the business grow organically. To increase the range of services we offer and to be able to continue to offer an affordable service.
It’s great to know that the support and advice is there as and when you need it from Erewash Partnership Ltd. The workshops are great at giving you the confidence to go out and do it.
I would advise anyone thinking about starting up to “follow your dream, trust your gut and do something you are passionate about”.
Sarah Pritchard - Furry Tails Dog Grooming Salon
I have always loved animals and have had many pets. My love for dogs led me to pursue a career working with dogs and after spotting a gap in the market for a dog groomers, I decided to set up a dog grooming salon in my local area. I have also always wanted to work for myself. My dad has been self-employed and I think this inspired me to want to start my own business.
Furry Tails Dog Grooming Salon is based in Ilkeston and we offer a full grooming service for all dog breeds. The services we offer include bathing, trimming, nail clipping, glands, brushing out and massage.
My first challenge was writing a business plan. Thankfully I had the help of Erewash Partnership Ltd and was able to produce a good sound plan. I then had to think about how to market the business and become known in the area. I tried various marketing methods and it has been a good learning curve for me.
Both the New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) Programme and Erewash Partnership Ltd gave me valuable advice and support whilst starting up my business. The help writing my business plan was excellent. The financial support was also an enormous help in setting up my business.
We have developed a number of regular customers and the business is steady. However, further marketing is required to increase our customer base.
There is nothing I find more rewarding than being my own boss. Working for myself gives me a greater satisfaction that I never achieved working for other people. It can be challenging at times (no holiday or sick pay any more!) but I am so glad I took this opportunity.
If I had to give aspiring entrepreneurs one piece of advice I would tell them to follow their dreams, take a chance, do not be afraid of the unknown. At the same time do your research, take it steady and make sure there is a gap in the market.
Liam Parker - Parkside CIC
I was born and raised in Ilkeston along with my brother and sister and went to local schools Chaucer infants, Kensington juniors and then on to Ilkeston
secondary school which was formerly the local grammar. Upon leaving school I embarked on an apprenticeship in building & construction at South East Derbyshire college. I worked in construction in the family business and also for other employers in the area. I have also worked in the underground music scene for many years and had a lot of experience working on events mostly across Nottingham. In the early 2000’s I moved to Nottingham and joined a Sound collective called DSF (Dark Sounds Foundation). We were made up of DJs, MCs, Producers and Sound engineers. We designed and built a heavyweight sound rig which we toured with and also ran our own Drum & Bass events in the City and across the UK. We provided sound in venues across the UK including Q Club Birmingham, Custard Factory, Brixton Academy and also showcased at the Notting Hill Carnival. We ran our own independent label producing several releases and had relative success in the UK drum & bass scene. We continued until 2010 before going our separate ways. We never quite achieved enough success to give up our day jobs, although the skills and experience we gained, money could not buy. I have continued with my passion for music and the arts and creative endeavours and it is these skills and experiences which I am channelling into my recently formed youth project Streetside.
I found myself without work when it became clear I could no longer work in the family business. I have had a desire to set up my own youth project for many years and had some experience supporting friends who worked in youth projects in inner City Nottingham. I was reluctant to continue searching for just another job in construction and knew that I needed a new challenge. I was also becoming increasingly aware of the need to engage with the youth in our community and wanted to try and harness some of the amazing talent in the local community. I would say that these desires and my disillusionment working in construction helped me decide to take the leap and set up my new venture. I expressed this at a job coach meeting at Ilkeston JCP and asked to be signposted to Erewash Partnership. I began researching the need for youth support and although I knew that areas of our community faced complex issues I didn’t know quite how much. Ilkeston East for example, where I live and where much of my work is based, is the worst in the County for youth unemployment, school absenteeism, GCSE attainment… the list goes on. For many social indicators it actually falls in the worst 10% nationally. Understanding this pushed me further and motivated me more than ever to set up my own Social Enterprise supporting local young people
My newly formed business, set up with the support of the Erewash Partnership is a Community Interest Company named Parkside High, specialising in a range of youth support. I kicked off my venture with the launch of my main service “Streetside”. Streetside is an Urban Youth Project which provides a safe environment for young people aged 11-16 to learn skills in music, media, art and performance. I was commissioned to deliver 48 workshops by Derbyshire County Council shortly after launching the project and we are on target to complete the program by March 2018. Parkside High also offer a range of youth support with a particular emphasis on hard to reach children and young people often from low income families and difficult backgrounds.
Parkside High work across Erewash supporting children and young people aged 8-18. We provide youth mentoring and development, educational support and alternative learning opportunities. We deliver workshops in schools, children’s centres and community spaces.
Although I had a clear idea of what I wanted to do I had hardly any start-up funds so finance has certainly been a challenge. It also took a few attempts convincing the Job Centre it was the right move! I also have to navigate my way through a lot of paper work and policy and legislation which unfortunately comes with the territory. A challenge I face which is ongoing, although not a barrier, is building a client base and attaining the necessary funding.
My advice to other aspiring entrepreneurs would be to go for it! It can be daunting but there is support out there and the help I have received thus far has been amazing. It has also provided me with a career that I enjoy and find very rewarding.
The D2 programme has been instrumental in enabling me to get off the ground. I have had guidance and support with my business plan, the legal structure of my business and also the transition from being unemployed to being able to see a career opportunity developing before me. Ian, Lottie, Richard, Graham and the team at the Erewash Partnership have been brilliant and have given me the confidence to keep pushing and make my venture a success.
So what’s next for Parkside High CIC?..........
2018 is going to be a busy year for Parkside High. We will continue to grow and develop as a Social Enterprise. We have a project launching on February 27th at the Children’s Centre in Cotmanhay in collaboration with Wash Arts called Inspire and Grow. The project is aimed at primary school pupils and is an interactive gardening project teaching growing, planting and raising awareness of nature. I have recently trained several volunteers who are joining the team. I anticipate setting on two staff members by Easter and also intend to launch Streetside Juniors.
Streetside will be hosting a Youth Showcase with live music and performance on June 2nd at Victoria Park, Ilkeston, so we will be extremely busy preparing for that too!
Setting up my own Social Enterprise has been a great challenge and has enabled me to express my creativity and pursue my career goals and ambitions. Although it has been tough at times and I am sure it will continue to be so, it has been exactly the challenge I needed in my life. Although I was mostly working as self-employed in the construction industry it was always contracted to somebody else and I didn’t feel fulfilled. Setting up Parkside High has given me positivity for the future and to anybody considering setting up on their own I would say GO FOR IT!
Amanda Bayliss - Hello People Solutions
Having ‘hit the ceiling’ in my role as Head of HR, I assessed my life, career, family wellbeing and I realised that there is more to life, more to having that work life balance.
Having a passion for HR and some brief exposure to HR Consultancy providing advice and support to a variety of business, I wanted to do more and make a difference to more companies.
Over a cup of tea one evening with my family – Hello People Solutions was born.
I am a HR professional with over 15 years’ experience in operational and strategic roles. My experience covers a variety of sectors, including Professional Services, Not for Profit, Manufacturing, Retail, cosmetic.
I attended college and following the end of the course, I was in a position of not knowing what I wanted to do, which direction I wanted to turn. My first employment was working as a Quality Assurance Administrator for Guy Birkin Limited who manufactured Nottingham Lace. This is where my HR journey began. Since then I have been fortunate enough to grow my experience and succeeded with internal promotions to become the Head of HR for a Professional Services business who employed over 250 employees.
On a personal note, I am a mother for 2 and live in Ilkeston. My hobbies tend to be non-existent as my weekends and evenings are taken up by being a taxi driver for my children, taking them to a variety of different sporting activities! I do however, strive to keep myself fit and active (I need the energy!)
My business provides outsourced HR support/consultancy service to small businesses within the East Midlands. This could consist of onsite support or over the phone. I work with companies that may not have dedicated HR and use employment lawyers or telephone helplines that either cost a fortune or don’t provide the hands-on support that a growing business needs. We understand the challenges businesses face, the cost and the time it takes to manage people effectively. Some of the areas we support:
• Employment Law Advice
• Contracts of employment
• Policies and procedures
• Employment Handbook
• Recruitment and Selection
• Performance Manager
• Absence Management
• Disciplinaries and Grievance
There are many barriers to overcome and think about when becoming self-employed – how am I going to do this! Marketing and Social medial were areas that I had no experience in, I knew nothing about ‘selling’ or targeting businesses were jargon to me. Having the safety net of regular income and security suddenly wasn’t there anymore. The biggest barrier I faced was having the confidence and belief that it will succeeded. However, the training, mentoring and support the D2 Business Starter programme offers is bespoke to each individual business and they seem to be able to help you tackle all the barriers many businesses may face – Understanding your business market, supporting you to implement your business plan, understanding the accounts process, social media and most importantly giving you the confidence to believe in yourself.
One piece of advice I would like to give to other aspiring entrepreneurs is to believe in yourself, and surround yourself with people who are supportive and can help you lift your business off the ground, and don’t be afraid to ask for help!
So what’s next for me and Hello People Solutions? The foundations are in place and I am building up relationships with contacts. Targeting the businesses that I believe would benefit from the services that I offer.
The D2 Business Starter programme has been a breath of fresh air! Richard and Lottie work brilliantly in ensuring you are supported – whether this is as 1:1 mentoring sessions or as a group session, learning from others who have experienced the challenges that all of us have faced (from time to time).
If you are thinking of starting your business or are just in the earlier stages, please give Lottie a call. You won’t be disappointed.
Helen Mart – SMARTs Mobile Dog Grooming
Helen found herself unemployed, after being made redundant from the Department of Work and Pensions after almost 24 years’ service. Despite having a long and successful track record in administration, she was struggling to find employers who were willing to interview her because she is deaf. After thinking long and hard, Helen thought that self-employment maybe a better way forward to get her back into work quicker and obviously remove the barrier of interviews. Helen undertook a course in dog grooming to obtain the qualifications to become an officially qualified dog groomer. She then decided to start a dog grooming business, it has been a long term ambition for Helen to run her own business, she has kept dogs for many years, and always wished to turn her passion into a business. This now felt like the perfect opportunity.
After claiming JSA for 18 months, Helen was referred to the NEA programme by her job coach Richard Bunting from Belper Job Centre, and worked with her business mentors Graham Howarth and Tyna Burnett, to develop her business model over a 7 week period.
SMARTs Mobile Dog Grooming has now been operating for approximately 9 weeks, and is a self-contained dog grooming business working from a fully equipped, self-sufficient van. Helen visits clients at their own homes within the Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire area, and is able to offer a full dog grooming services to clients’ dogs from her custom made van.
Helen reports that she feels immensely proud knowing that she has broken down the barriers faced by her disability, and is finally doing the job that she really loves.
“I’ve groomed one of my client’s Crufts dog Matilda and she got 3rd place in her class at Crufts. I’m quite proud and chuffed”
One of Helen’s customers emailed her to see if she could hand-strip her dog, a wire haired Vizsla, named Matilda for Crufts in January. Helen felt a little apprehensive although willing to hand-strip her dog, but made the customer aware that she didn’t have a great deal of experience or specific understanding of the breed when it comes to show dogs like hers and would hate to make any mistakes. The customer insisted to book Helen. She was really pleased with the results.
An email form the customer to Helen:-
Just wanted to let you know Matilda got 3rd place in her class at Crufts.
It was out of 13, so a large class with some very good bitches in there.
We have shown for a year so was delighted with her and the result.
You can now say you groomed a Crufts girl!
Hope you are happy and well.
Helen was obviously really chuffed to hear this brilliant news.
Helen’s business is going from strength to strength even in the first few months of trading
Shane Anthony Beaver – Your Ancestry Revealed
Shane had worked for the Royal Mail as a postman for 18 years but had to retire due to a back injury. He had been looking for work but the back injury prevented him for doing any physical work. He had therefore, been claiming ESA for two years, and was referred to the New Enterprise Allowance programme by his adviser Vivien at Ilkeston JCP.
For over 20 years he had studied his own family history during his spare time. This led him to believe he could turn this into a business that he could run from home. ‘Your Ancestry Revealed’ is a family history tracing service, offered throughout the East Midlands area.
Shane has been trading since October 2016 and all clients are extremely happy, impressed and satisfied with the work produced for them. Shane has just commenced work for his first client outside of Derbyshire, which is great as it means word of this fantastic new business is moving fast. Shane also has a huge task ahead of him – another client wants him to research the family name, which is…..Smith! He claims this will be a very daunting task as you can probably imagine!
Shane confirmed that he is extremely happy and impressed with the support he received and continues to receive from Erewash Partnership Ltd in all areas, including assistance with the development of his business plan and attendance at networking events etc.
Sally Aukland of My Personal VA Rocks
Sally was referred to NEA back in August 2016 by her adviser David Coates, of Alfreton JCP. Prior to joining the NEA programme, Sally was a full-time parent to her little boy, before this she worked as a legal secretary for 9 years at a law firm in Nottingham.
My Personal VA Rocks is a remote virtual assistant business. Sally provides secretarial services and office support remotely from home in Alfreton, Derbyshire, to businesses throughout the UK.
Sally worked with her mentor Graham Pidcock through Erewash Partnership Ltd to produce a business and financial plan for her new business idea over the course of 7 weeks. Sally commenced trading in October 2016, so has only been trading for 3 months.
The main challenge has been knowing that she has got enough work on and having to say no to people, she finds saying no very hard! Her main achievements have included being able to secure work easily through contacts, without having the need or expense of marketing/advertising.
The NEA programme gave her an easier route into self-employment ‘without it, I don’t think I would have taken the leap. Graham’s expertise and advice was invaluable during the business planning stage and working on the business plan really opened my eyes up to everything I need to consider to trade successfully’.
Linda Inglis Care
Linda was referred to the NEA programme by her advisers Emma and Laura at Alfreton Job Centre. She had been off work for a total of 20 months and had claimed ESA for 8 months and JSA for 3. Prior to her claim, she worked as a County Council Carer for 20 years, but had been off work through illness as she had broken a bone in her back and was unable to continue in her role so had to look for alternative employment.
Linda’s business idea was to continue with what she knew best and she has set up providing one to one care in the community. The objective of the business is to provide a more person centred approach on a one to one basis of care. She has over 25 years’ experience in this field and throughout this time has come to realise that some clients really do benefit from continuity of care with the same carer. She already has a few local clients and is now building a more solid customer base. Linda has now been trading for 7 weeks.
Linda really benefited from the support provided by Erewash Partnership Ltd, Roger Taylor who conducted the initial assessment put her completely at ease, Linda was then matched to her mentor Graham Pidcock who helped her over a period of 7 weeks to develop her business plan, sales forecast and cashflow etc ready for her to commence trading. Continuation of support will be offered to Linda by Erewash Partnership Ltd for a period up to 6 months.
The main challenges have been building up her client base, but his is now starting to come together nicely, and this is where the NEA allowance has been very useful and helpful allowing her to build her hours up gradually.
Katie Conroy – KD Collections
Katie Conroy was made redundant on 12th April 2016 and began claiming Jobseekers on 9th June 2016. It was at this point she learned of the NEA programme and an appointment was made for me to discuss it further with a colleague of my work coach, Julie Adkin at Long Eaton JCP, who knew more about it. John then asked Katie to go away and have a look at preparing a business plan, she was then referred to the NEA programme. She transitioned to the NEA on 30th October 2016 and so had claimed Jobseekers allowance for just over 20 weeks.
Prior to making her claim to JSA, Katie was working full time as a Senior Account Manager for the Middle East and Regional Director for the UK, Middle East, Africa and Asia at an Online Travel Company. She was home based in Long Eaton but travelled weekly to the head office in London along with a minimum of 8 international trips per year. The company Katie worked for was bought out by a competitor and they were all made redundant. There were jobs available if she was able to relocate to London or the Middle East. This unfortunately, was not an option for her as her husband had a stable job in Derbyshire. She was kept on for an extended period to aid in the transition period of the buyout. On completion of the transition period I she made redundant.
Katie is now the proud Owner and Creative Director at KD Collections, which is a Luxury Wedding and Event Planning service offering a wide range of tailored solutions for a wide variety of events, based from home in Long Eaton serving the East Midlands.
The business was launched on Monday 31st October 2016 and has now been trading for 12 weeks.
“Initial branding and market position were a key achievement to ensure that the image was right for the clientele we want to attract. Social Media marketing and web presence was also a priority and continues to be so. We have held a successful birthday party and are planning another one, we have also secured 1 bride on a consultancy contract and the priority is to continue focusing on lead generation”.
The support to put together and the Business Planning was fantastic and the meetings I had with Graham Howarth my mentor through Erewash Partnership were very interactive and helpful with some great ideas generated by us both whilst talking it all through. The Erewash Partnership have simply made it so I can focus my attention on really building my business.
Hipley Cottage Crafts
Jayne Elizabeth Henderson was claiming JSA for four months before she was referred to the NEA programme by her JCP adviser Jackie at Belper JCP. Prior to being made redundant in June 2016, she was a Field Sales Representative for Loss Management Group, who specialise in post loss assessment and replacement of jewellery. This involved visiting clients in their own homes to secure sales for replacement jewellery items. Jayne also has four step children from two relationships, aged between 8 and 25.
Jayne was mentored on the NEA programme by Graham Pidcock through Erewash Partnership Ltd, she set up Hipley Cottage Crafts from home in Belper, which is a bespoke supplier of costume and precious metal jewellery and also hand painted glassware and other gifts. Jayne has now been trading since 1st December 2016, and is doing well to date.
Jayne reports that the main challenge has been learning to find the right level of online promotion and suitable events at which to trade. She has also been working hard to learn new skills to expand her ranges to include precious metal items.
NEA and Erewash Partnership have given Jayne the focus and determination to succeed within a structured framework, which has been incredibly useful.