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 and applying for the programme is simple. Just call our team on 07494 442869 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will take you through the process.”
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 his pathway into business – with the help of JumpStart:
Tell us a bit about yourself. What was your life like before you decided to pursue a business idea?
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 that I could spend more time at home with my family and also plan an additional child to the family. So I was exploring the idea for a business that would be workable from home and also flexible around the needs of my family.
What business have you set up and how did you arrive at this idea?
I came up with the idea of creating inspirational Christian T-shirts from looking at business ideas from YouTube. I stumbled across a guy on You Tube called Martin Butler. He 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.
Did you want to start this business because you feel this is the best way to express and promote Christian beliefs?
Yes, partly. When I was looking into T-shirt printing from home I realised that if you did this business it would wise to have a niche market to sell to and as a Christian I’ve always wanted to wear inspirational clothing but never seen much evidence of the people around me wearing such t-shirts in the community. So I looked into it and decided that since it was a niche and market of people I was very familiar with – it would be something that not only resonated personally with me but something that I could definitely be passionate and creative about. I had the networks already in place. 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”.
What are the next steps towards launching your business?
I have already set up my website and now I need to focus on my marketing plan to get the sales coming in. This could involve getting more likes on my Facebook page, encouraging others to sign up to my email list by providing incentives, for them to join and eventually purchase my products. I also plan in the future to sell at all the major Christian festivals in the UK and perhaps in Christian bookshops too.
Why did you sign up to the Jump Start Programme?
I was about 8 months pregnant in August 2016 with my 4th child and just before she arrived I received a leaflet in the post advertising for help with business set up. It was from JumpStart, back then called “The Business Dream”. I kept it on my fridge for a while but didn’t have the courage to call them because I didn’t really know how credible they were – or how much it would cost, etc. Then at half term in October 2016, I was in the library in Nuneaton with my eldest son and baby and I saw the team from Jump Start offering people food snacks and also a sign up for business help and I realised that it was the same people from the leaflet I had kept. I jumped at the opportunity before me and put my name on the waiting list to attend workshops etc. 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 possibly knew exactly what they were talking about when it came to setting up and running a business.
So far, what has been the most useful part of the support provided to you?
The information I have received from the workshops that I have attended have been invaluable and helped to change my mindset and knowledge base – into one of an entrepreneur.
How have the peer-to-peer networking group sessions helped you so far?
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. They have the same challenges I have and they want the same outcome as me – which is to be successful in business. It is really 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.
Would you recommend the programme to other entrepreneurs and why?
Yes, definitely. There is realness and a down to earthiness about the whole set up of JumpStart. You can really tell that this is an organisation that wants you to succeed in your business venture. There is so much information about what you need to get you started in your business if you attend the workshops and there is support which enables you to ask questions, raise concerns and get real and honest feedback from experienced facilitators, who help support you to set up your particular business. Everything is done in a totally ethical way. So not only would I recommend this programme to others who share my Christian values – but to everyone.
*The IEP, part-funded by ERDF, is run by Coventry & Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust (CWRT), a not-for-profit specialist finance provider committed to supporting businesses and individuals primarily based in Coventry and Warwickshire. CWRT has partnered with The Women’s Economy (WE), and Warwickshire County Council, to offer specialist business support in Warwickshire through the new and unique Inclusive Enterprise Programme.