I came up with the idea to run fitness classes for mums because I really stuggled to get back into shape and didn’t like the gym. I didn’t know how to go about setting up a business and I didn’t have the capital to start up either. I got in touch with Business Link and Princes Trust and went on courses with them both. I then got a grant of £250 from the Princes Trust called a ‘will it work grant‘. Princes Trust also advised me on how to set up, gave me a mentor and introduced me to Unltd.
I went to meet Unltd and submitted my idea to them. Lucky for me they loved my idea and said they’d like me to submit an application. They made no promises because it all depends on funding available, but I was told if I was sucessful the average person is awarded usually £2,000. So I started putting my application together. I was advised to sell my self because they prefer investing in people than the business or idea. I was told that they believe that it’s people that make a business, which really helped when writing my application because I had no experince of running a business or providing fitness classes. As part of the application, I needed references Joanne and Laura (www.rentabuggy.co.uk) from Networking Mummies kindly helped me out here and have been really supportive.
Once the application was submitted it was a case of waiting with fingers crossed! A month later I got a call from Unltd for a telephone interview. This was unexpected and I didn’t recognise the number. So I had to just think on the spot and just be myself. After the interview, I was told my application would now be submitted to the panel and I would hear back soon.
I heard back about a week later and it seemed like the longest week ever. I was delighted when I got the phone call. I was told I had been awarded £3,000 and the panel loved the idea.
I then had to go to London for an awards day, and bumped into friend I’d meet on the Princes Trust course too. She had won an award too. Small world.
I’m now able to fullfill my dreams of launching my business but couldn’t of done it without someone believing in me and investing in me. I will launch soon but from coming up with the idea, to getting funding, to doing training etc it’s taken nearly 18 months and I’m so excited and scared.
So my advise to anyone trying to set up a business or get funding, get advice and do the networking. I’d of never been launching soon without the Princes Trust , Unltd or Networking Mummies support! I think without the support I’d of loss my self belief and gave up. You never know what contacts you’ll make and without going on Princes Trust course I’ll of never known about Unltd.
Kirsty Bowerbank-Steel is a local (Bournemouth) young mum and budding entrepreneur – ‘Work it Baby’ launches later this year so watch this space!