Entrepreneurs profiles

Paul Lamplough – Dog walking business

Dog walking businessAfter being made redundant Paul Lamplough decided to start his own business, walking and house sitting dogs. His Disability Employment adviser put him in contact with a business adviser and an appointment was made at his home to discuss his business plans.

The business adviser helped him with his business plan to determine if the business had a chance of success. After completing the business plan, Paul and his adviser started to look for financial support to start up the business.

Through Job Centre Plus Paul was eligible to join the Test Trading scheme which allowed him to trade whilst on his benefits for 6 months. This support let him concentrate on building up his customer without worrying about pay his household bills.

Paul the applied for grants which totalled £600. He used this money to pay for some advertising fliers, poster, business cards and a jacket with his contact detail written on the back of it. He hand delivered is flier to households and businesses in his town and networked with potential customers at local events.

He used some of his profits to purchase a website www.k9-solutions.net which attracted more customers and a van so he could pick up multiple dogs from different area and walk 4 at once. With his business adviser he applied to Access to Work which funded a support work to drive the van as he was unable to drive because of his visual impairment.

With this extra support, Paul soon built up a loyal customer base and is now walking up to 25 dogs per day. He is now looking into renting a property and offering a dog crèche service where dog owners can drop there dogs off, so not to leave them for long periods of time.

Paul said “Thanks to the support i receieved, I was able to start my own business and get me back into work. I did not realise the support available and I know they are always there if I need advice.”

Blind martial arts expert Mark Paterson

Mark Paterson blind martial arts instructerBLIND martial arts expert Mark Paterson has become a highly qualified teacher. The partially sighted master has overcome numerous obstacles in his life but achieving the eighth Dan black belt qualification is his most treasured. Mr Paterson, who is registered blind after being born with only seven per cent vision, launched a business venture with the support of his qualification. With a guiding hand from Action for Blind People, he has set up classes in Guis¬borough and Redcar and is now planning to teach a class around Teesside.

Redcar-born Mr Paterson, who lives in Skelton, teaches a modernised system of the Japanese fighting technique Aiki-jiyu jutsu. He said: “I’m probably the highest trained martial arts expert in the area – the eighth Dan is the highest accolade in the black belt. “The techniques I will be showing in my new classes use everything from throws and locks to pressure point fighting. “The old system, which dates back to tenth-century Japan, centres around sword fighting, so I’ve modernised it to protect people from weapons such as baseball bats and knives, which are more common on the streets today.”

Thanks to help from Action for Blind People, which helps blind and partially sighted people into employment, Mr Paterson has secured funding and drawn up his business plan. His love for the technique began in Malaysia, when he lived there as a child with his parents. His hobby continued back home in the UK and when he failed to find a teaching class in the area, he practised on friends. As time went on, he learned other disciplines such as Tae Kwon Do and Jujitsu and got the teaching bug in 1995 when one of his instructors became ill and Mark took over the class. If you are interested in learning martial arts, contact Mark on 07979557227 for details on your nearest class.

Jayne Mason – Fancy Dance Shop

Jayne 8350Jayne Mason was born with a congenital sight defect and left school with no qualifications. She lost her parents and her partner and was diagnosed with cancer, before setting up the Fancy Dance Shop, selling dance wear and fancy dress costumes and accessories in York and Harrogate.

Jayne deals with everything from serving customers to ordering stock and managing staff, marketing, networking, as well as her very important role as tea maker. The Fancy Dance Shop is York’s one stop dance shop, for all dancewear, supply and fancy dress needs. Jayne started her specialist dance shop after working a childminder for some time. “When my daughter got older, I wanted to work for myself, so I looked around for a niche in the market,” Jayne said. “My daughter suggested a shop that sold items for dance. So I did further research, contacting dance schools. I learnt a lot from manufacturers and found myself involved in a wonderful fascinating business. “I was a top ten national finalist in The Trading Places competition which is supported by Barclays, and I got there with no form of qualifications, but determination and hard work to succeed. You need to follow your dream and believe in yourself; if I can achieve it any one can.”
Sales of her dancewear plus her fancy dress and accessories expanded so fast that her business outgrew its Blossom Street premises and moved to a shop in Micklegate, taking on two staff.
“Our new website www.fancydanceshop.com is now complete so people can order online”. We are also developing our own brand and there is a possibility of a third shop.”

“At the beginning I struggled to create an opening in the market, as dancewear suppliers were reluctant to give new ventures credit so I had to build up her relationships with them while keeping tight control over my cash flow”

Part of the secret of her success is that she is unafraid of diversification where needed. When Royal Ascot came to York, some space was made amid the dance wear for hats.
“My dream is to franchise out nationally what has proved to be a winning formula.”

Albert Thomson wins Disabled Entrepreneur of the Year at Radar’s People of the Year awards

entrepreneur albert thomsonAlbert Thomson was awarded Disabled Entrepreneur of the Year at Radar’s People of the Year awards.

The People of the Year Awards are a pan-disability event celebrating the achievements of individuals and organisations, who together are making the UK a better place for all.

Albert formed Action Amps in 2005 after becoming severely injured, which resulted in the loss of his left leg above knee, while serving in action. He left the Army as a Colour Sergeant in October 2005 having served 18 years.

Albert used his recovery time in hospital contemplating how he could turn this life-changing negative impact on his life into a positive. He was aware that without the quick-thinking and level-headedness of the Army medics and doctors, who were first on the scene, following the horrific injuries he sustained, he would not be here today. Read the rest of this entry »

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