Nicola Crompton founded ‘Happy Home Learning’ during lockdown. Although this wasn’t perhaps the ideal time to start a business, with Cumbria Business Growth Hub’s Business Start-Up Support programme, she has really found her feet.
As a positive, energetic mum to two children with 20 years of teaching expertise, she has enjoyed leadership roles in schools, worked as a Specialist Leader of Education and created university training materials. Her passion, however, is working with families; “I introduced parent workshops in my first year of teaching after realising that parents were having difficulties with supporting their child’s reading. The methods for teaching are now different and expectations are high. Parents and carers can have a great impact on their child’s learning when they understand the school methods, and can keep things fun.”
Understanding the struggles during home-schooling through lockdown, Nicola created a Facebook page that makes learning active and fun. A free, private ‘Starting Nursery/Primary School’ group was also established for parents of under 5 year olds to help with the transition into education. Nicola received direct messages from parents who sought help with areas like phonics and ways to help boost their child’s listening, concentration, independence and motivation; “The Starting Nursery/Primary school group was only ever intended to support the September transition. It has grown quicker than expected. I’ve received such lovely feedback, it now includes support in response to the membership questions.”
Nicola wanted to share bite-sized teaching videos of her and her children which parents and carers could replicate, so began to make video tutorials to support spelling, handwriting and maths. She firmly believes that learning does not have to involve sitting at the table and that children learn from one another. Her mini video lessons show how children can learn on a walk, in the kitchen or even in the bath; “I wanted to offer an alternative to the traditional methods of learning, or sitting at a screen.”
When asked what motivated her, Nicola said; “Listening to the frustrations of parents who want to help their child learn is what motivated me! There’s a gap between the support parents want and the capacity for overstretched schools to deliver this. I want to empower parents with the knowledge to support their child. I want to make things fun for everyone.”
Nicola came to Cumbria Business Growth Hub at the start of the pandemic. The Business Start-Up Support scheme offered through Cumbria Business Growth Hub gives free support to those wanting to start a business or in the early years of trading. The package includes a 3-day course on starting a business, one-to-one meetings with an adviser and assistance with a business plan.
A friend recommended The Growth Hub to Nicola. The business start-up support gave Nicola confidence because starting a business was a ‘complete unknown’; “It was useful to have my adviser as a point of contact because I had so many questions to ask, and knowing I could be signposted to areas of support was reassuring.”
Nicola completed the workshops in 2021. Workshops cover business planning and self-employment, marketing, market research, sales forecasts, sales and promotion, social media and pricing, planning and managing finance, taxation, book-keeping and credit control.
Nicola said: “The workshops were informative. From understanding SEO to pricing products, there was a lot to learn. People shared concerns and stumbling blocks, and it was useful to problem solve with others. After working in large teams, starting your own business can be a lonely endeavour.”
When asked about the support, Nicola said: “My advisers held me accountable and allowed me to move my business forward in the right way. It was difficult doing everything online, but my advisers were supportive about the whole process.”
Nicola has produced eight activity tins. They have been accredited by The Good Toy Guide, are stocked in 16 shops and an award-winning online store. She said: “I know how difficult it is for schools to fully support parents. I also know how busy family life is. I share simple ways to reinforce what is being taught. Parents tell me that my resources are offering a helpful alternative to worksheets and screens. I love hearing from families that Happy Home Learning is giving them the confidence and skills to make learning fun. My aim is to ensure that children love learning and to help families to enjoy learning together.”
Advice for others wanting to start a business:
- Never be afraid to ask for help, remember there’s no such thing as a silly question, reach out to other businesses for their advice and just go for it!
- Be passionate about your values. I hope to help families ensure their child gets the best start and this motivates me to work evenings and weekends.
If you’re thinking of setting up a business, get in touch today! Speak to a member of our team on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0844 257 84 50.
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.