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Photographer turns his hobby into a business venture

Alex De Palma web correct size

A photographer who turned his hobby into his profession says it was the best move he ever made and has set his sights on creating a North West hub to help others develop their camera skills.

Alex De Palma, from Leyland, worked in engineering for eight years after completing an apprenticeship but as his passion for photography grew he decided to take the plunge and six months ago he launched Alex De Palma Photography. 

Now Alex’s business is going from strength to strength and he offers photography for commercial and documentary use, working with clients in various sectors including property, homeware, nutrition and sport. Alex has received support from Boost’s Growth Support Programme, which helps entrepreneurs launch their new enterprises. Boost; Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub, is led by the Lancashire LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) and Lancashire County Council and supported by funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The fully funded programme, delivered by Winning Pitch and Enterprise4all, provides help to develop a personal action plan, Lean Launchpad sessions outlining key principles for developing a new business and one-to-one coaching support for business owners. Alex said: “Setting up a business was something completely new to me, I knew I had the photography skills but it was all the other aspects of business I needed support with, I met Boost associate Sarah Walmsley at an event and after talking to her I decided to try and make the most of all the help and support that was available to me.

“I attended a growth workshop which highlighted a number of things I hadn’t thought about before which will certainly be helpful in the future and I can use this knowledge to grow my business.” 

He added: “My aim over the next couple of years is to employ two people and move into new premises instead of working from home. The education side of photography really interests me and I’d like to eventually run programmes to help people develop their skills and enable them to take the best photo regardless of what kit they have.”

Rona McFall, head of entrepreneurial solutions at Winning Pitch, said: “Taking the leap from working for an employer to working for yourself can be a challenge, especially as there can be lots of unknowns. We were pleased to be able to offer Alex the support he needs to help his business grow and we can see he is on the right path for a successful future.”

Boost; Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub has received £3.8m of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for ERDF. 

Established by the European Union ERDF funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.  For more information, visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding  

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