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Case Study: Atomic Typo

Jenny Messenger has over 7 years of experience proofreading and copyediting academic writing. She had previously worked in journalism as a financial reporter but after deciding the financial sector wasn’t for her, she went back into academia, completing her PhD in Classics and Modern Literature from the University of St. Andrews in 2019.

Having a strong academic background, it seemed only natural that Jenny started a business proofreading and editing, and Atomic Typo was founded. She offers a proofreading service with expertise in nonfiction and Arts and Humanities writing.

Following the completion of her PhD, Jenny moved to Spain to teach English. The pandemic then hit in early 2020 and Jenny returned to Cumbria to stay with family. Jenny said: “I had a lot of time to think about my career and my life and what I wanted to do.

“This idea came quite naturally as I’d always done proofreading and copyediting for other people, and I’ve always enjoyed it.”

As Jenny wasn’t working, she started claiming Universal Credit, and through this was made aware of the New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) scheme. The NEA is a business support scheme offered by the Department of Work and Pensions which aims to help those claiming unemployment benefits become self-employed.

She was later enrolled on Cumbria Business Growth Hub’s Business Start-Up Support programme which offers free support and advice to those wanting to start a business, or those in the early years of trading. The package includes a 3-day course on starting a business, one-to-one meetings with a business adviser, training and help with a business plan.

Jenny said: “I knew nothing about how to set up a business, everything I’ve learnt on the 3-day course I’ve applied.”

She explained that the support covered everything “from basic financial accounting to marketing, which has been great – breaking down the marketing strategy I found useful as it’s not something I would’ve thought of.

“Also, thinking about future business growth and breaking down cash flow forecasts and making me think about what services I offer. Having someone read through my business plan as well.”

Jenny benefited hugely from Growth Hub adviser Justine Douglas’ support. Jenny said: “Justine’s help has been invaluable. I don’t think I would have been able to get the business up and running so quickly without her. Having someone to read through my business plan was great, and she’s focused on what needs to be done and is encouraging, which is what you need when starting a business.”

When asked what she’s planning for the future, Jenny said: “Next year I want to develop my skills. I want to go on a few courses such as developmental editing and have a more collaborative input. I’ve had a lot of business through word of mouth which has been amazing, but in the future I’d like to spread the word a bit more widely.”

If you want to start your own business like Jenny, you can access help and support through the Growth Hub’s BSUS scheme. Get in touch today on 0844 257 84 50, or email us at

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.