Business Support

Andrea Whigham

What was your background before becoming an adviser and what industry experience do you have?

“I have enjoyed a lifetime working in the hospitality industry, in many different organisations – from small independent businesses to large international brands.

Before moving to Cumbria in 2017 I was very fortunate to be asked to open one of the country’s first training hotels – where most of the staff are college students learning on the job. This was a unique and inspiring opportunity working with young people at the beginning of their career and prompted me to become an adviser.”

Areas of specialism/interest

“I have been fortunate to work in many different specialist departments within the hospitality industry and I can support with branding and marketing , yield management, recruitment, training and development, project management and health and safety. Much of this experience is transferrable to other industries.”

Why did you become a business adviser? How long have you been an adviser/self employed?

“I’ve been an adviser for two years, what excited me about the role was the opportunity to make a difference by sharing my experience and knowledge.”

What do you most enjoy about the role?

“I love the sheer variety of the work, one day I can be attending a board meeting the next day I can be in a farmers field looking at a space for a glamping pod. Whatever the business – it is a privilege to meet people following their passions.”

Your biggest success to date as an adviser?

“During the pandemic I worked with a small retail business who had just opened prior to lockdown. I was able to assist in a successful grant application, support in pivoting the business to reach new markets and help produce systems and processes that improved efficiencies.”

What have you learned?

“How fearless you have to be to start a business – but that it is worth every agonising moment of self-doubt you have to do something you love.”

What type of businesses have been able to support and what support did you offer?

“Mainly hospitality and retail.”

3 interesting facts about you

  • “I’m an excellent dancer and would love to do Strictly
  • Many years ago to give up smoking I spent three months making pom poms every night (I haven’t touched wool since)
  • My most star struck moment was meeting two of The Beatles!”