9th November, 2016 No Comments
Firstly, a huge ‘thank you’ to all our business support programme clients who kindly took the time to complete our recent ‘Starting a Business’ survey. We are pleased to announce that the winner of the iPod in the prize draw is Laura Sehjal.
Laura started her business 3 years ago and confidently responded to the ‘Starting a Business’ survey having been through the process herself.
Principal and founder of Hatch Drama in Ashford, Kent, Laura clearly remembers taking part in her first drama class at the tender age of five – the effects of which are still propelling her forward today. Laura’s drive comes from a desire to ensure that she recreates the same experience of magic, safety and growth for every child she works with.
With an MA and a First Class Honours Degree in Theatre, Laura started teaching drama over 12 years ago. Loving all aspects of theatre, she has written, directed and performed shows across London. Laura has also worked in a variety of educational settings and has come to understand the importance of a rounded education; one that school alone cannot always deliver. The project aims to boost the confidence and self-esteem of young children through role play, drama and acting scenarios, scripts and dramatic productions.
Unlike some of the larger performing arts franchises, Hatch Drama write their own curriculum according to the individuals in each class. This gives the tutors the freedom to create a bespoke, expert programme that ensures every child benefits according to his or her needs.
‘Ready for Business’, the support programme which was the forerunner to Start & Grow, helped Laura to launch Hatch Drama. Laura’s business support was through Enterprise First – Cavendish Enterprise’s partner organisation delivering business support across the South East of England. Laura attended a one day workshop followed by some 1-to-1 sessions to consolidate the learning and finalise her business plan. After the business opened, Laura received additional 1-to1 support sessions to and an hour spent with a local accountant taught Laura how to manage her books.
“The support at the time was amazing” says Laura. “Starting a business involved more skills and motivation than I had originally perceived, the support offered through Ready for Business gave me confidence and kept me on track.
“The 1-to-1 meetings made me accountable to someone and gave me great short term goals to aim for. The skills I learnt at their workshop and with the accountant have proved invaluable. I still use the things I learnt three years into my business.”
Find out more about Hatch Drama performing arts classes in Ashford, Hastings, and Rye.
15th January, 2015 No Comments
Through the Ready for Business programme, many budding new entrepreneurs are making their dreams a reality and starting their own business. Maria Harris from Chesterfield is one such entrepreneur, who started her business with the help of NBV Enterprise Solutions Ltd (NBV), based in the East Midlands.
Maria has a background in music retail, working for big names like Beggars Banquet and Virgin Retail, plus a degree in Radio, Film & Television Studies, and made the decision to play her part in the vinyl revolution by setting up Tallbird Records.
Maria explained “I started my own business because, quite frankly, I was a bored housewife who had a dream of owning and running a record shop.” This led to Maria doing some internet research on setting up a business, where she found NBV. “I only attended a one-day seminar about starting a business, but it was there that I was introduced to my NBV Business Adviser, Anna Sywyj, who became such a support to me” said Maria. “She was the one person I could discuss my business planning concerns with; she was also someone to kick ideas around with and an invaluable source of advice about the logistics of starting a new business.”
Maria opened her shop in October 2013.
“My claim to fame is that Tallbird Records is currently the only record shop in Chesterfield!”
“I’m proud to offer a great range of products, alongside first-rate customer service. I also make a profit, which of course is the really important bit!”
There have of course been the inevitable highs and lows to navigate. Maria said “The high point of opening the business for me has been the incredible positivity and genuine warmth from those who have visited the shop, some of whom have become regular customers. I have had days when my takings have been down, but on the whole, there have been many more highs than lows.”
NBV Business Adviser, Anna, added, “Maria had a sound business plan when we met; she just needed a steer in the right direction. She has now developed a successful enterprise, which is based on her passion for music. It has been such a joy to see her confidence grow as a direct result of opening and growing her business. When you visit the shop, it’s clear to see that customers really value Maria’s knowledge and the excellent customer service that she provides. I am also really pleased that the business is exceeding its initial financial projections. Maria has adapted and tweaked the business to meet the demands of her record-buying public; she’s also added to her new product ranges to ensure she stays one step ahead of the game.”
The future is bright for Maria and Tallbird Records. Summarising her experience of Ready for Business with NBV, Maria concluded “I would advise anyone wanting to move on from business start-up, to contact NBV and make the most of the services and support on offer. I’ve just taken on a part time member of staff and am looking forward to offering the same great service, on a slightly grander scale. I’m also exploring setting up an online shop, further marketing of the business and long-term, even a move to slightly larger premises. My turnover is also growing; who knows where I’ll be in another year’s time!”
If you would like to follow in Maria’s footsteps and start your own business, contact your local enterprise agency within the Cavendish Consortium partnership.