There’s no shortage of women coming through the Boost support programmes and turning their dreams into viable businesses.
From making lamb tikka pies to award-winning gin, Boost has supported over 100 female-led businesses since the start of 2019.
NatWest and Boost; Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub, have teamed up with regional companies to bolster female-led businesses in the region with the launch of the region’s first ever Female Entrepreneurship Month this November. To celebrate, here are just some of the amazing women who have growth stories to tell.
From a kitchen to ‘my little pie factory’ – Zainab Bilal grows her pie production
Zainab, a qualified teacher and former biomedical scientist, started Pie Mezzanae from her home kitchen whilst still working as support facilitator at Blackburn College.
She benefitted from the Boost Launchpad workshop and various masterclasses through the Growth Support Programme as it fitted with her needs and aspirations for the business.
Zainab said: “The professional connections I’ve made though Boost have also really helped me. Being able to get in touch with (growth explorer) Yusuf Musa for advice is like having another little door I can knock on. Andrew Leeming from Boost introduced me to Lancashire Forum, a peer network and business growth programme and I have really gained a greater business insight through this programme”
Since gaining advice from Boost, she has relocated to a purpose-equipped unit in Blackburn and is receiving on-going support from Boost to develop a funding application.
Going it alone after 30 years behind a desk – Mags Potter sets up a virtual PA business
After working for nearly 30 years in an office-based job, Mags wanted to gain more control over her choice of work and go it alone. But she had no idea where to start. Mags knew how to be a PA inside and out, but nothing about starting a business.
After starting Boost’s Growth Support Programme she gained the confidence to really launch herself and focus full-time on the business. Within a year she was far exceeding her expectations for the demand for her PA services.
Potters Business Support offers PA services including diary and document management, bookkeeping and travel planning to small businesses across the county. Mags is continually developing her business model and certainly now sees an opportunity for the business to grow.
Building a healthy business – Michaela Barker finds a niche for her expertise
Guardian Angels Marketing, a digital agency that delivers bespoke services to healthcare organisations has significantly increased its client-base and recruited two full time staff thanks to Boost’s Growth Support Programme.
Founder Michaela Barker benefitted from attending a number of the programme’s workshops that explored topics such as diagnosing business needs, partnership working, delivery support, and understanding business finance.
Michaela said: “Through Yusuf, I have met many other business owners going through the same process and we all support each other. I found trust through the network. People are highly supportive and we share advice and ideas. I still receive ongoing support from him, and I guess you could say he is my Guardian Angel!”
Finding a stress-free work-life balance – Michelle Bondesio makes the move
Michelle Bondesio, originally from South Africa, established Bondesio Communications and Consulting in December 2017, to help businesses adopt a healthier working culture for their employees.
She set up the business after receiving support through Boost’s Growth Support Programme and now reaches a wide network of business clients across the county.
Her workshops help businesses to look after wellbeing and reduce stress in the workplace. They support business teams to build their resilience, unlock more of their creativity and improve their productivity.
Michelle said: “The masterclasses and coaching I received through Boost helped me gain the confidence I needed to get started. They have certainly made me think on a much bigger scale for my business than I expected.”
To see events happening during Female Entrepreneurship Month, click here. If you’re an eligible female entrepreneur or team in Lancashire and need support to develop a great idea or grow your business, please talk to Boost. Call 0800 488 0057 or contact us online.