Perhaps you can relate… You have a particular hobby or skill that you believe may turn out to be the next successful business in your area. However, you struggle with family and work commitments, you do not know where to start and you are a little bit scared of turning your dream into reality – it may be a long and hard journey… if you go it alone.
If you agreed to any of the statements above, then we have a programme that will help guide you through the enterprise journey, step by step, at a pace that suits you… our JumpStart programme is designed to help and support you to set up a business, become established and grow. Project manager Sheridan Sulskis explains…
“Our offer is a long-term business support service featuring locally delivered group workshops, access to relevant resources and start-up finance. We believe that there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution when starting a business – that is why our unique approach aims to provide clients with specialist support tailored to their needs.
“We believe that what clients can learn through our support can always be applied to their own business venture, job search or indeed any other activity they choose. If any budding entrepreneurs would like our help turning their dream into a living and breathing startup, we are here to support them.”
Among those to benefit from the programme is Sharon Hendricks who has recently set up her business “Inspired By Word” Christian T-shirts. Here, she explains her story before she joined the programme which could resonate with many parents who juggle family commitments, personal interests and a “9 to 5” job.
“In 2015 I was a married mum of 3 boys aged 9, 4 and 3, and working full time as Medical Secretary. I was always very busy and sometimes quite stressed and I was constantly on the go either at work or at home. I was also very involved in my local church during the week and particularly on Sundays.
At the time I was looking forward to doing something part time for myself instead of working full time. So, I was exploring the idea for a business that would be workable from home and also flexible around the needs of my family.”
At JumpStart we know that deciding to go the path less travelled and explore self-employment is big step to take but it is possible when a client’s willingness to try and our support start working hand in hand. Sharon admits that at first, she “didn’t have the courage to call JumpStart” but it wasn’t long before she met the team and “jumped at the opportunity”:
“I soon got a call inviting me to attend a workshop and I attended my first workshop in February 2017 (once my baby was a little bigger). The reason I signed up for the programme was because I really knew that I needed help and support to get my business legally off the ground and also to get advice from people that knew exactly what they were talking about when it came to setting up and running a business.”
The result? After attending JumpStart’s workshops and following the advice of experienced business advisors, Sharon launched her “Inspired By Word” Christian T-shirts printing business in July. The backstory of her idea is the ideal example of what JumpStart services aim to achieve – turning a person’s interest, passion or hobby into a profitable business:
“A YouTuber called Martin Butler was advertising a business that you could easily do from home – and it was T-shirt printing. He had been running this business from his home successfully for the last 6 years. My mind started to buzz and I realised that this was definitely something I could do from home too – with a heat press, transfers and some t-shirts - a small investment.”
“I am excited about providing inspirational clothing and I think it’s a great way to promote Christian beliefs and values. I experimented with a name for my business and eventually came up with INSPIRED by Word Christian T-shirts. This was because the inspiration for the designs on my T-shirts comes mainly from the Bible and the Bible is often referred to by Christians as: “The Word”.”
The new venture in front of Sharon is undoubtedly both exciting and challenging but she has the plans in place to make it through her website, promotion through social media, engagement in major Christian festivals and bookshops. She described the support she received through JumpStart as an “invaluable” stepping stone to her business launch:
“It changed my mind-set and knowledge base into one of an entrepreneur. It has been really great to mix with people who are more or less in the same boat as myself – just starting out in business. It is useful to talk with them and share ideas and struggles and get feedback.”
“I have also enjoyed being taken seriously as a new entrepreneur and being given tools that will help me on my pathway – so the little talks at the networking sessions have been great – with lots of nuggets of information and inspiration to keep me going.”
This project is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, forming part of the Coventry & Warwickshire Business Support Programme.