Tom aimed to open a nursery, together with his wife of 24 years, Hayley, who has been working in childcare and education since 1993. Tom attended the 1-day and 3-day Self-Employment Workshops to ensure he had the knowledge and skills he needed. A Start Up Loan, facilitated by X-Forces Enterprise, allowed the couple to take out the commercial lease on the Georgian property in the centre of Truro and purchase equipment and furniture for the nursery.
Tom and Hayley announced their new business venture on April 2nd 2021, and, with restrictions easing to a reasonable level, opened their doors on Monday 7th June!
When asked how the COVID-19 Pandemic situation affected his business journey, Tom replied:
“In a strange way COVID has helped us. It forced me to work from home for the last 6 months of my service so I got used to that. Then we found the building and our target opening day roughly aligned with the final relaxation on restrictions, people seeking employment and seeking childcare to go back to work. Nurseries have stayed open almost throughout and are rebounding quickly as people return to work.”
Tom received £25,000 in funding support through X-Forces Enterprise, as a delivery partner of the Start Up Loans scheme, which he says will be used on equipment, furniture and working capital for the first three months of his business opening.
He also attended a host of free training workshops, delivered by XFE Training Manager Roger Cawte, and said :
“The access to training, help with the business plan and funding have been invaluable”.
Tom and Hayley went through countless obstacles throughout the setting up of their business, however had some invaluable feedback and advice for anyone else thinking of becoming self-employed:
“Ask lots of questions, get different opinions, and ensure you get honest critical feedback from people, not just “yeah that looks/sounds great”. A good friend will tell you which part of your plan is bonkers! Go for it, you have nothing to fear but the sky falling on your head.”
X-Forces Enterprise CEO and Founder, Ren Kapur MBE, said:
“It was delightful to read all about Tom and his partner’s business journey. As some of you know the childcare agenda is an important one for me, in how we can improve the landscape for current and future business owners, and our community as a whole who have childcare needs.
There is a lot of work to do around the childcare agenda, not least because childcare costs in the UK are some of the most expensive in Europe; with households spending on average 27% of its income on childcare vs. just 13% in the rest of Europe.
Therefore seeing Tom and his wife supporting this agenda through their amazing new business is fantastic and we wish them all the best and will be continuing to support them through mentorship, further training and connections.”
With a five year plan already in the works for a second Nursery, make sure you keep up to date with Little Minnows Nursery at the following links:
X-Forces Enterprise (XFE) is an award-winning Community Interest Company that nurtures entrepreneurial ambition in the UK military community, and official delivery partner to the government’s Start Up Loans Company and MoD’s Career Transition Partnership. XFE supports Service leavers, veterans, spouses, cadets and Armed Forces family members to start their own businesses with a full package of training, finance, networking and mentoring. Start your journey by registering today here.
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