Category Archives: Case Studies

Rafi Raja Usmaan : Yrulan Yrizz Productions


Rafi Raja Usmaan : Yrulan Yrizz Productions

Rafi Raja Usmaan : Yrulan Yrizz Productions

Rafi has always dreamt about owning his own film production company.  Before Bradford Kickstart, Rafi feels all this was just a dream.  As a child Rafi was passionate and obsessed with films, watching sometime up to 5 films a day.  Not bring particularly academically inclined he would spend the majority of his time taking part in music, acting and dance sessions, determined that one day he would be able to make films that would capture the hearts and mins of the world.

Before coming to Bradford Kickstart, Rafi had a full-time job, which was helping him to build his experience, knowledge and skills in the field.  Having never written a script or produced or directed anything, using this time to gain industry knowledge was imperative.  A couple of years later Rafi had accomplished writing his first script, but had no way of moving forward with it.  Rafi’s major challenge and obstacle was and still is finding sufficient capital to fund his film.  He recognised that in order to get ahead he needed to become more business minded about the whole operation.  Having no previous skills in business especially coming from such a creative background, Rafi needed some help to point him in the right direction.

Rafi heard about Bradford Kickstart from his mother who was a regular visitor to the Carlisle Business Centre and mentioned how Bradford Kickstart could help people get their businesses started.  So Rafi was very excited to meet his local Enterprise Coach, Zahra Niazi.  Rafi explains his coaching experience as ‘a start for a better future’.

A couple of months later, Rafi was in a position to air his first small 20 minute film ‘Love…It’s never easy’ at the National Media Museum as Yrulan Yrizz Productions Limited.  Rafi believes this is the first step into making his feature film possible.  Rafi says “My local Enterprise Coach kick started my company and because of that I now have so many good things to look forward to”.  Rafi’s next steps are to continue improving the film and make contact with reputable people and organisations within the industry who will help make his goal of a feature film a reality.

Yrulan Yrizz Productions
Rafi Raja Usmaan
T  07542 161326


Neelam Saddique : Cherry Tree Playhouse


Neelam Saddique : Cherry Tree Playhouse

Neelam Saddique : Cherry Tree Playhouse

Neelam Saddique completed her Childcare education at Bradford College where she completed her qualifications and training.  Having the knowledge and experience in working with children she undertook a variety of work experience placements in a range of different primary schools. Her passion and love for children didn’t diminish and only sparked a real desire to make a real difference, not in her own life but in others also.  Neelam didn’t want to become ‘just another statistic’, unemployed and looking for work.  As a feisty young woman she wanted to take on the challenge of achieving something for herself and to prove to the world that she could do it.  She realised that she was capable of doing so much more and able to contribute and make a difference to the economy during these difficult and challenging times.

Support Journey

Neelam’s ambition was to set up a thriving and successful Day Care Nursery for children aged between 2-5 years with working parents.  Neelam received help and support from organisations such as Princes Trust and Bradford Kickstart.  The Princes Trust offered to help Neelam with the funding for her business idea as well as offering her business training on their enterprise programme.  After successfully completing her business plan she approached Kickstart, who assigned Neelam to her local Enterprise Coach, Zahra Niazi.  Zahra was able to understand Neelam’s concerns i.e. finding suitable premises, raising capital, marketing for clients and recruiting staff. Zahra also enabled Neelam to look differently at finance and explore ways in which she could set up with very little borrowing.  In a short space of time Neelam was able to secure her first premises for her nursery at Manningham Mills Sports and Community Association. Cherry Tree Play House has been approved by Ofsted.

Where They Are Now

The official launch of her nursery ‘Cherry Tree Play House’ was on 5th November 2012. The inauguration ceremony took place on 3rd November by the Lord Mayor.  This event was filmed by students from the University of Bradford and will be presented in Centenary Square next month.  The open day was a successful event followed by an inspirational speech by the Lord Mayor himself.  Neelam says ‘My local Enterprise Coach was always there when I needed someone to speak to. Zahra’s support was very practical and complimented the support I received through Princes Trust.  Through Zahra’s help I was able to locate premises, market my business and recruit employees.’

Cherry Tree Playhouse
Neelam Saddique
T  07528 728009

Michelle Hilton : Petals from the Lane


Michelle Hilton : Petals from the Lane

Michelle Hilton : Petals from the Lane

When Michelle Hilton got married in 2011 she realised that there was a gap in market for a one stop wedding shop in Bradford.  Her idea was to open a shop that sold a wide variety of wedding and bridesmaids dresses, tiaras and other accessories and to include other hard to find items like chair covers with colour themed sashes and ring cushions.  Michelle had been at home with her 5 children after a nasty car accident and felt she wanted to get back into work, but that self employment was the best route for her circumstances. Finding the right premises in the right location proved to be an issue but a chance conversation in a florist’s changed Michelle’s plans overnight. 

Support Journey

Michelle had researched the market and with Celia Hickson, Enterprise Coach for Holme Wood and Bierley, had visited some premises with a view to opening the wedding shop somewhere near Wibsey. In general the shops were in need of huge investment and were overpriced. After Michelle’s chance encounter with Tracy, owner of Petals from the Lane, on Sticker Lane, the business plan changed from opening a new shop to buying an existing business and gradually changing the sales offer.  After some hard negotiating, Michelle and Celia worked together on a good business case for investment in Michelle, the existing florists’ shop and her ideas for expansion. This was submitted the Business Enterprise Fund in early September and 6 weeks later Michelle became the proud owner of her florist shop.

Where They Are Now

Michelle had been planning her wedding one stop shop for a while before she met Celia and had lots of great ideas about what she wanted. Her journey was dramatically changed when she spoke of her ambitions when she was buying some flowers. Tracy was looking to sell and after seeing the building and understanding the local area, Michelle really wanted Petals from the Lane to be the place she grew her business.

Michelle says “Kickstart have been great all the way through. I came to Celia with an idea and was supported and given some excellent guidance from the Holme Wood and Bierley panel. When I had decided to buy ‘Petals from the Lane’ the support from Celia was excellent and Simon Jackson from BEF has been really good too. I am so glad I made that phone call and went for it!”

Petals from the Lane
Michelle Hilton
T  01274 665334

Ladies Only Auto Care


Ladies Only Auto Care

Ladies Only Auto Care

Jeanette Romani has operated the highly successful ‘Ladies Only Travel’ business for 6 years.  Running 4 minibuses which travel all over the north of England most weekdays and every weekend meant that she had high maintenance and repair bills.  Finding premises where she could store the buses securely was proving to be hard until she saw 139 St Helena’s Road in Wibsey. The site has comfortable office space, a large garage with clean and warm waiting area and a large fully secure yard.  Jeanette realised she could reduce her repair bills and start a new and exciting business – ‘Ladies Only Auto Care’.  Jeanette’s friend Zoe came to help run the enterprise and after lots of painting cleaning and sprucing up with large pink and black banners the site looks great.  The garage space needed some major investment in lifting equipment and a new pit.  Janette and Zoe were convinced that their record in business would stand them in good stead with the banks and approached them for a loan to purchase the equipment and make the structural changes necessary.

Support Journey

The banks decided not to support Ladies Only Auto Care which came as a shock to both Zoe and Jeanette.  Convinced that they would have to sell a minibus to fund their new venture they contacted Enterprise Coach Celia Hickson.  Within a week of meeting up with Celia they had submitted an application to the Business Enterprise Fund and 2 weeks later after much nail biting they found out that they had been successful.  Jeanette said, “The support that Celia provided in preparing our business case for the BEF application was vital in securing the investment we so badly needed. Thanks to Celia and BEF we can now get on with developing Ladies Only Auto Care and getting lady drivers in Bradford, and beyond, the honest and reliable repair services they need.’”

Where They Are Now

Jeanette and Zoe had a very clear vision for ‘Ladies Only Auto Care’ and were very shocked when the banks would not support their new business ideas.  They were trying to find a way to get the business to work without the investment, but were struggling. Finding Celia at the right time meant that there was only a short delay in getting the funding their business so desperately needed. As a result they now have appointed their garage manager, Andy, and are trying to find an apprentice, who they would love to be female!

Ladies Only Auto Care
Jeannette Romani & Zoe Nichols
T  01274 691078 / 07760 776898

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