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Issue:- 3 April 2014

...Continued...   James was unsure of what to do after graduating from university in the depths of recession and it was whilst working with a builder at Crosby-based Farrington Building Services on extension projects that he developed the idea to set up his design business.

For James, self employment had the added appeal of flexibility, to enable him to follow his passion for athletics. As a UK championship 1500 metre runner, James hopes to perform well at the Commonwealth Games Trials in June this year and has aspirations to compete at the championships in Glasgow and, ultimately, the next Olympic Games.

"I missed out on place in the final at the Trials for the London Olympics by just 0.7 seconds but am confident that my performance can be improved upon and hopeful that I can push for a place at the Commonwealth Trials," added James, who has been a member of Southport and Waterloo Athletics Club for 20 years.  Being self employed enables me to fit my training regime and competitions around the work which really suits me."

In St Helens  -  Budding entrepreneur and skilled cook Goya Griffiths is aiming to spice up the dishes served at events across the region after launching a bespoke catering business.  Goya set up Saraphee Catering from her home in Newton le Willows, Merseyside to provide Thai-style catering to a wide range of events, including private parties, conferences, corporate events and official openings.  She received assistance to launch her venture from the New Enterprise Allowance Initiative and Business Advisers at St Helens Chamber; and says her spicy dishes are proving a hit with people more used to staple party food such as sausage rolls and sandwiches.

"My clients really love my dishes and I'm getting some great feedback. My dishes include Thai green and red curries, chicken satays and meatballs, though I also provide less spicy food to cater for all tastes."  said Goya who was born in northern Thailand and relocated to England after marrying a man from St Helens.

Goya came up with the idea for her business when she started cooking for her husband and friends as an alternative to eating out at Thai restaurants.  "Eating out can be expensive and I felt that the food served was no better than dishes I have been cooking for many years. Growing up in Thailand all of the women learn to cook from an early age. I learned alongside my grandmother, using fresh ingredients including chillies, limes and lemongrass grown in her own garden. I spotted a business opportunity, spurred on by the popularity of Thai food, as I think people are often looking for an alternative to traditional party food. I'm hoping that'word of mouth' recommendations will help me to expand my business." said Goya in a press relaese.

Goya, who has access to a large, professional kitchen when catering for bigger events, found the support she received from the NEA scheme really helpful.  "I had my idea but was unsure of where to start to set it up as a business,.  The support and help has been fantastic, it's given me lots of ideas and I've also been introduced to lots of people who I hope will be future clients." said Goya.


Heather Hayes, Managing Director, Blue Orchid Management Consultants said:- "Due to the backing of finance and mentoring support from the New Enterprise Allowance, Blue Orchid has helped over 4,500 unemployed people to become their own boss since 2011. Amongst the business ideas supported includes caterers, creative designers, landscape gardeners and mechanics. Commenting on the phenomenal demand for the service, Heather Hayes, CEO of Blue Orchid said:- "Month by month over 250 people are taking the opportunity to create a job for themselves. Working in more than 54 local Job Centre Plus offices across the North West, unemployed people can work with a business mentor to help realise their ambitions.  The New Enterprise Allowance has been so successful, next year we expect a further 2,000 unemployed people to access finance and advice to get their business idea of the ground."


Full breakdown of NEA statistics (April 2011 to March 2014) canbe found on the website.

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