Author Archives: bradfordkickstart

Workplace Learning Advocates

Workplace Learning Advocates is an initiative funded by The Dept for Business Innovation & Skills and is intended to help non unionised organisations up skill their staff and promote a learning culture in the workplace.  The initiative has been operating since 2004 in the North West, however, is now offered nationally. 
The scheme is now being launched in Yorkshire by offering our 2 hour, on-line, WLA course to interested companies.    The course is designed to give an overview of government supported educational/ training programmes as well as an insight into funding for skills and workforce development.   There is no charge to take part.  
After completing the course, companies receive updates on new sources of funding and will also have free access to a range of learning material on work related topics such as  Customer Care, Developing Interviewing Skills, Leading Team Meeting etc. 
The course can be completed on an individual basis from any computer with internet access or alternatively could be completed in a group situation if a number of companies could be brought together.
For more information;
Graham Johnston
Workplace Learning Advocates
T  07791 639 196

Julie Abberton : Harmonising Muscular Bodyworks

Julie Abberton (left)

Julie is an experienced osteopath who recently returned to the UK after studying in the USA. She originally lived in Goose Eye near Keighley, but had researched Bradford very well and wanted to start her new business on Tong Street in Holme Wood. Julie found her ideal property and after a shaky start involving water coming through the ceiling, she has created a tranquil and calm therapy room and waiting area. Julie contacted Bradford Kickstart because she wanted to get a better understanding of the different areas of Bradford and support in building a customer base. The business, Harmonising Muscular Bodyworks, provides massage therapies, including cranial sacral therapy and sports massage. The business launched with a visit from the Lord Mayor, Naveeda Islam, who cut the ribbon and had a short therapy and Julie raised money for Marie Curie Cancer Research as part of her launch party.

Julie was introduced to Bradford Kickstart through internet research and she was put in contact with her local coach, Celia Hickson. Julie had already run an osteopathy clinic in Scotland and so was able to put a good business plan together quickly. Armed with her plan Julie approached her friends and family for the initial investment she needed to take on the therapy rooms and make them a suitable space for her work. The strength of her plan and the quality of the research Celia and Julie did, convinced the investors of the proposal and Julie was able to start her business relatively smoothly. Celia helped Julie put marketing material together and supported her in planning the highly successful launch party. Her support meant that Julie was able to sound her ideas out and was able to move quickly to open her enterprise.

The vision that Julie had was realised through her hard work and commitment to the idea. Her reasons for starting her business in Tong were questioned, but Julie had conducted extensive research and was able to demonstrate to investors and others that her customer base would be wide, and within 4 weeks of opening Julie had clients from Shipley, Cleckheaton and Leeds, proving her decision was sound.

Julie said “Celia and Bradford Kickstart have made Harmonizing Muscular Bodyworks move from an idea to an operational and profitable business very smoothly. I was challenged when I needed to be and found that having a coach meant I was supported all the way. I am so grateful and feel blessed to be starting up in Bradford and having all the benefits of Kickstart.”

Julie Abberton
Harmonising Muscular Bodyworks
T  07773 485644

Emma Dick : Pepperpot P.A.


Emma Dick : Pepperpot P.A.

When I left university I was unsure as to what I wanted to do and became a secretary at Lancaster University whilst I worked out what career path to take. Sixteen years later and after various administration roles and a period of ill health (in which I lost my job) I began to attend the Isis Project, a mental health charity for women, in Shipley. Through craft and social sessions and the care and support of the staff there I began to regain my confidence and started to look for ways to help the charity and find my way back into work. Along with another client I made jewellery and handmade craft items and sold them to raise funds for the project, we even went on to be awarded the Telegraph and Argus Community Stars Fundraiser award in 2011. I also began volunteering in the office as they only had two full time members of staff – the Project Manager and the Office Manager – and two part time crèche workers. I found myself enjoying helping other clients and doing administration work again. I decided that working as a virtual assistant, taking on secretarial and administration work on a freelance basis for sole traders and small companies, gave me the opportunity to work for myself and get a better work/life balance.


Initially I started looking for employment but found jobs were limited. My sister in law mentioned a website where people bid for freelance work as a way of making ends meet whilst I carried on looking for employment. I also wanted to continue volunteering for the Isis Project and was aware that this would be difficult with set working hours, especially when I went back to work full time. I was referred to Kickstart Coach David Humphreys through the Job Centre and met him to discuss the possibilities of going self employed. My first meeting with David was a bit of an ideas gathering session; I was still wondering whether to try and make a career from my crafting and jewellery making or to go back into administration. David helped me think through the pros and cons of both careers and I decided that administration was the more viable option. David’s assistance in considering self employment focussed my mind and gave me the desire to go and register on the website my sister in law had told me about. I went away with a feeling of trepidation and excitement and joined the online freelance community that afternoon.

I bid for my first job, which had just been posted, and being quick off the mark I managed to impress the poster and found my first client. My first job resulted in me being paid about £1 an hour; I had no experience of how long such jobs would take and how to price them but felt I had to start somewhere. My hard work paid off and the client asked me if I would consider doing further work for him. I was honest and explained that I was interested but would require a regular hourly rate, which he agreed, and five months later he is still one of my clients and I continue to work on his website. I soon picked up another client and began transcribing subtitles for the BBC archives.

David had invited me to a networking meeting and although nervous, I went along to meet other new start ups. It was beneficial hearing how other people were getting on and I learnt the importance of marketing myself a bit better, I was going to need business cards!

I had a further meeting with David at the end of my transcribing contract and we discussed which markets I may be able to tap into to find further work and prioritised these. Some were shorter term whilst others would take a bit more work to get into and were with the thought of long term establishment of my business. David also ran through some financial aspects of self employment with me and we completed a cash flow forecast which really helped me to see how things may work in the future, how much work I need to look at bringing in, my pricing structures and so on.

During this period I gained a couple of new clients and my work included proof reading project reports and working on another newly established website. One of my clients himself works full-time and the website is a side project for him, so I undertake the administration work and write articles for the site.

David’s invitation to the networking event led me to meeting a start up advisor at Bradford University and he asked me to go along to speak to a group he was running for people considering going into self employment. Again, it was good to meet other people and I found it interesting to hear their motives for becoming self employed. It strengthened my belief that although it is hard work starting up I am doing it for the right reasons for me and I enjoy what I do.

Future Plans

David has been essential in helping me expand my networks and I am meeting one of his other clients who also provides freelance secretarial services to discuss how we may be able to work together in the future. I plan to attend more network meetings not only to market myself but also to have contact with other self employed people. Working from home, mainly online, has a lot of benefits but I miss the social aspect of previous roles. I’m not sure exactly what the future holds for me work wise but I like that aspect of my work, the variety of roles and that everyday is different. Things are taking off steadily, I’m just about to get my own website up and running and I’m about to get my business cards printed, when I can decide on the colour!

Pepperpot P.A.
Emma Dick
T  0777 257 107

Hashim Designs

Hashim Designs owner Kashif Qureshi and staff member Rachel Morris

A design and print agency in Bradford which has grown from a bedroom operation into a successful business employing five people has benefited from guidance from Bradford Council’s enterprise service.

Hashim Designs in Heaton has recruited an extra graphic designer to cope with its growing workload.

It follows a series of meetings with an enterprise coach from the Council’s Kickstart scheme, which has helped thousands of similar small businesses and start-ups across the Bradford district over the past six years.

Kickstart enterprise coach Zahra Niazi gave business founder Kashif Qureshi advice on making staff members’ roles and responsibilities more defined to improve efficiency.

Kashif said: “Everyone was working really hard but we were all doing different bits and pieces rather than focusing on particular areas.

“I didn’t know where best to start but working with Kickstart helped me to restructure things and make sure I was giving clear leadership to drive things along.

“It has already paid off and we’ve just recruited another designer because we are so much busier.”

As a teenager Kashif spent hours in his bedroom producing menus, flyers and leaflets for local restaurants and takeaways.

After building a strong client base he made a decision to rent a small office unit, allowing him to turn his designing from a hobby into a full-time job.

He then began offering print services and within two years took on an extra member of staff. Two years later he moved to larger premises in Adelaide Street, Bradford, branching further into websites, banners and external signs.

He is now serving clients like local health trusts and British Gas and hoping to grow further by building on the support from Kickstart.

Kashif added: “Graphic design was a hobby of mine, really, and I’ve managed to turn it into a successful business. Anyone who starts out on their own can make it work in the same way if they have enough passion – having services like Kickstart certainly helps too.”

Coun Susan Hinchcliffe, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for employment and skills, said: “This is another great example of how we can assist small businesses to improve, grow and as a result help the local economy by creating new jobs.

“Businesses across the country are still finding the economy tough going but there are opportunities locally for enterprising firms like Hashim Designs and as a Council we’ll help them as much as possible.”

In the past six years, Bradford Council’s enterprise programme has supported more than 1,500 new businesses and helped to create more than 5,000 jobs. It is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Anyone who wants further information about how Kickstart can call 0800 953 9503 or email

Hashim Designs

Kashif Qureshi

T  01274 745024

Kickstart helps former nurse’s business get off on the right foot

Christine Harker

An ex-district nurse has returned to her roots by setting up a successful foot care business with support from Bradford Council.

Christine Harker left the NHS in 2010 after 30 years’ service, having risen to become a senior nurse manager.  Now she is back looking after patients once again – but this time focusing just on their feet.  She set up Heel2Toe Foot Health Care last year with support from Bradford Council’s Kickstart enterprise programme and is steadily growing her list of clients.

Christine, from Haworth, said: “Given my background as a community nurse, I am comfortable with people and their own environment and don’t have a problem dealing with aspects of personal care. Plus I know from experience how much good regular foot care enhances people’s quality of life so my idea stemmed from there.

“It was always an aspiration to work for myself but knowing how to get out there and do it was another matter.

“I realised approaching Kickstart would be a great way of working through everything and creating a proper business plan – that turned out to be exactly what happened.”

She worked with Kickstart enterprise coach Candy Squire-Watt to develop her business plan, marketing and networking skills having spent 12 months gaining a diploma in foot health care and attending a centre of excellence.

Christine is now a qualified Foot Health Practitioner, performing treatments such as toe-nail cutting, dealing with corns, callus and general foot care in and around Keighley as well as at a clinic at a Harden pharmacy.

“When I went to the initial group Kickstart sessions it was really helpful to talk with other people in the same position about the positives and negatives of starting a business,” added Christine.

“The biggest message was that you had to be brave to start on your own but that the help would be there if you took the plunge.

“I had invested a huge amount of effort in getting qualified and reaching the point that I could start the business but I risked not being able to see the wood for the trees.

“My enterprise coach guided me out of the trees, as it were, and now I’ve built up a really nice client list which continues to grow.

“Eighty per cent of my clients are older people who are in their own homes and have particular problems with general foot care like thickened nails. The other twenty per cent are a mix of younger men and woman with foot care needs such as ingrown toe nails, callus and dry cracked heels.”

Coun David Green, Bradford Council Leader, said: “Christine’s knowledge and experience gave her a brilliant starting point to establish her own business and it’s very pleasing that Kickstart has been able to help her.

“Whether you have 30 years’ or 30 weeks’ experience, starting out on your own can be a daunting proposition but our enterprise coaches offer invaluable assistance and support.”

Heel2Toe Foot Health Care

Christine Harker

T  07504 714072

Enthuse partners offer one-stop shop to schools!

Naveed Mushtaque and Richard Harrison

Born and bred in Bradford, Naveed with his business partner Richard want to make their mark on children and families in cities like ours.

Toller-based Naveed Mushtaque was recently made redundant, having served in Bradford Council as an Extended Services Co-ordinator for 4 years. Naveed’s decision to undertake a bold and brave move into self-employment was mainly derived from his passion and belief in the outcomes he was already delivering to schools and children based within the BD5 area.

Naveed’s business partner Richard comes from a similar background having delivered the On Track project for Bradford Council as well as working with schools on funding and sports development.

Naveed and Richard both believe that there is social and moral obligation for schools, to provide children and their families with positive life experiences. Combining their experiences and skills together, they believe that they are a unique and powerful duo offering a holistic approach to making innovative things happen. Building on strong relationships with school head teachers, Naveed and Richard have expertise around accessing funding, providing staff to deliver activities, managing, creating and developing projects or supporting pathways for students. Head teachers such as Mike Latham from Newby Primary, who have already accessed their services, are completely delighted with the impact their involvement has made on their school’s achievement. With so many changes in the educational sector, it was challenging to get schools to recognise the value and moral aspect of what the business offers and willingly pay for services which have been traditionally offered for without cost to the schools.

Naveed says; “It was extremely challenging to try and change the way I thought about my services in terms of monetary value. The whole paradigm shift was difficult to get to grips with. I wasn’t sure how to develop the business from the initial idea, or what type of structure we should go for or how to market the business to schools as a business, which is why I approached Bradford Kickstart for help.”

Since contacting Bradford Kickstart’s coach Zahra Niazi, Naveed’s confidence has significantly grown. Naveed says, “Talking through the business plan, marketing strategy and just having someone to coach me through the process has made me less fearful of things that might go wrong. It’s just been really useful to be able refer to Zahra and have the confidence that there is expertise and reassurance. Someone you can trust every step of the way, that was really important to me.”

Through the support of Bradford Kickstart, Naveed and Richard officially launched their business ‘Enthuse’ in April 2012 operating from the Park Lane business centre.