Enterprise Hub supports 5,000 entrepreneurs – including Jackie’s ‘Ballroom Blitz’

Enterprise Hub was launched in December 2015 as a one door access point for men and women from the Liverpool City Region with enterprising ambition to access expert advice and support

Jackie Williams
Jackie Williams who has set up Ballroom Blitz with the help of the Enterprise Hub. Picture by Iain Jack Photography

 

Regional business start-up support programme Enterprise Hub has announced this month that more than 5,000 people have now been supported to develop enterprise skills.

Enterprise Hub was launched in December 2015 as a one door access point for men and women from the Liverpool City Region with enterprising ambition to access expert advice and support.

The innovative partnership model, which aims to simplify the process of accessing the right support to get started, is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The Enterprise Hub Programme works with individuals to explore the stages of setting up a company, such as understanding business structures, conducting market research, building a comprehensive business plan, developing a marketing strategy, creating financial forecasts to understand the cost of running a business and its potential income, and identifying sources of finance to get started.

Quick step

Among the 5,000 to benefit from the Enterprise Hub programme was Jackie Williams, who was able to ‘quick step’ her way to setting up her own dance school after taking up the advice and support.

Jackie surprised colleagues when she left a well-paid corporate job, taking voluntary redundancy with the aim of fulfilling her ambition of combining work with her love of dance

To manage the transition Jackie took the decision to work part-time in a local supermarket to maintain a steady income while going through the process of setting up her ‘Ballroom Blitz’ business.

However, after undertaking an Enterprise Hub programme, she is now working full time on her dance classes – and has even started a second venture since taking over her dad’s gardening business.

Passion for dance

Before taking the plunge into self-employment Jackie worked as a global quality specialist for industry giant Unilever, notching up 20 years with the Anglo-Dutch conglomerate. But away from the workplace she had always danced and had a passion for everything dance-related.

“For many years I have been joking about retiring onto a cruise ship to teach ballroom and Latin dancing,” said Jackie. “So, when my dance school offered the opportunity to qualify as a teacher, I took it.”

Her stars must have been in alignment, because at the same time her employer launched a voluntary redundancy scheme.

For someone who describes herself as “risk averse” she grasped the opportunity with both hands, despite her fear of giving up a regular income.

“I got around this fear by taking a small part-time job, so I had a base income,” she said.

Start-up

Her ambition to make the transition to self-employment moved that much closer when she contacted Liverpool-based social enterprise The Women’s Organisation, one of the delivery partners with Enterprise Hub.

Jackie said: “I wrote down all my ideas and possible venues for the classes and researched the competition that was out there.”

The Women’s Organisation paired Jackie with senior business adviser Claire Pedersen who helped her with all aspects of her business start-up process and linked her to training as part of their Enterprise Hub programme.

Jackie admitted: “At the start of the process I was extremely nervous as I was stepping into the unknown. But the thought of this turned out to be worse than the reality.”

Ballroom Blitz
Ballroom Blitz  offers adult dance classes, socials, and events across Wirral and Liverpool

 

Soon after, in July 2017, Ballroom Blitz was up and running. It offers adult dance classes, socials, and events across the Wirral and Liverpool. Jackie currently teach three nights a week at two venues, and in September will be increasing this by one extra night, with the option for a Saturday morning.

She also hosts regular Wednesday afternoon tea dances in the impressive setting of Liverpool’s magnificent St George’s Hall, and in September she will also include the Cunard Building ballroom in her list of locations.

Social pleasure

She said she feels Ballroom Blitz stands out from other dance schools, explaining: “It’s social.

Through offering social ballroom and Latin dance classes this makes me unique, as usually there is lots of focus on medals and competitions, whereas, my passion and mission is to spread the joy of dancing for social pleasure, in keeping with my mission statement – ‘helping others discover the enjoyment of social dance, one step at a time’.”

She said she feels proud and excited having successfully completed the journey from business hopeful to self-employment: “Words cannot really describe how I feel.

“I am immensely proud, and thankful. I feel truly blessed for all the support I have had, and I’m excited about the future. This is the happiest I have been in all my life,” she said.

Jackie has also recently benefited from Enterprise Hub’s ‘Boost Your New Business’ programme aimed at supporting young businesses through their first year of trading, and commented: “It was fantastic to meet other like-minded people, and to pick up expertise around marketing, branding and networking. I highly recommend the course to anyone who is looking to develop their new business.”

Anyone wanting to find out more about the Enterprise Hub programme can contact the Enterprise Hub team via 0151-706 8113, or email enterprisehub@thewo.org.uk

Further details about Jackie’s business can be found at her website: www.ballroom-blitz.co.uk,

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