Previously a lecturer at an agricultural college in Preston, Kerrie Hart has always had an interest in horses. Following a change of circumstances in her family life, a change in career would provide more flexibility and allow Kerrie to look after her young child. She decided to train to be an equine dental technician, and founded Kerrie Hart Equine Dentistry.
Kerrie said: “being a single mum was quite difficult especially with teaching, you’re never finished work, constantly preparing and marking.” After making the decision to give up teaching, Kerrie wanted to choose a profession whereby she could tailor her hours to compliment being a single mum and family life. “I’ve always taught in ‘horsey’ topics and have had horses so this is what I decided to do.”
Although it hasn’t been an easy journey for Kerrie, starting her training 10 years ago. She said: “I sold everything, my car and trailer and went over to the States to train. It’s taken some time to do this as there isn’t a step-guided path to get into it, and life gets in the way sometimes.” What she didn’t realise at the time was that American equine dental qualifications aren’t recognised in England.
It was after having to change from her Working Family Tax credits to Universal Credit that Kerrie was made aware of the New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) scheme. Funded by the Department for Work and Pensions, the NEA scheme helps those claiming unemployment benefits to become self-employed. You can find out about the NEA scheme here.
From NEA, Kerrie was enrolled onto the Business Start-Up Support (BSUS) scheme which offers free help to those starting up a business or in the first 3 years of trading. The programme gives individuals access to one-to-one meetings with a business adviser, help with a business plan, a free three-day workshop covering business basics and Cumbria Chamber of Commerce membership. In October of 2020, she registered her business.
“I thought the start-up scheme was brilliant because there was help towards getting my business properly set up.” Kerrie’s adviser, Justine Douglas, covered all areas of business. Working together to develop a business plan, create cashflow forecasts and getting the pricing right.
“Justine was really down to earth and approachable. I found all the advisers to be optimistic and encouraging.”
Because of the pandemic, adviser meetings had to move online. However, this has worked well for Kerrie, she said “it’s been quite nice doing things on Zoom rather taking time out to travel for meetings.”
The three-day business start-up course covers a range of topics such as: business planning and self-employment, marketing, social media, sales and promotion, as well as planning and managing finance, taxation and book-keeping. Kerrie said: “for me personally I really enjoyed the marketing and accounting courses as I wasn’t really strongly suited to those areas beforehand.”
Kerrie has already surpassed where she intended to be in her business plan. Having just passed the exams here in England, she is now qualified in this country meaning she can market her business as such. In the future, Kerrie said: “I’m just trying to build up and put myself out there as much as I can.”
If you’re looking to start a business and would like free support and advice, please call 0844 257 84 50 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The funding that supports the Growth Hub comes from a range of sources including Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, the European Regional Development Fund, Sellafield Ltd., Carlisle City Council, South Lakeland District Council, Penrith Industrial BID and Cumbria LEP. The Growth Hub is receiving up to £2,528,767 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The BSUS project is receiving up to £1,112,686 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information, click here.