Gemma Dawe knew from school age that she always wanted to run her own business. After being made redundant from her estate agency job due to the pandemic in 2020, Gemma saw this as an opportunity to finally start Lake District Relocation. Gemma said: “I had the idea to do this around 4-years previously but never had the confidence to go self employed at that stage I my life. Although the redundancy was a terrible experience, it did push me to do something I was passionate about which has now been really successful.”
Lake District Relocation brings together Gemma’s expertise of the property market in the Lake District, and helps people find houses in the area. Gemma said: “There were local people struggling to find property and therefore didn’t want to sell their own property – they were stuck in a vicious cycle. We also saw this huge in surge of people wanting to relocate because of flexible working and I was there able to help support them all on their buying journey.
“I’d worked for nearly a decade in the local estate agency industry helping the seller. But there isn’t really anyone supporting the buyer. There’s nobody there to give impartial advice that’s not going to jeopardise you when buying a house. And that’s really where the business idea came from.”
Gemma first heard about Cumbria Business Growth Hub when a few years ago she attended a Social Media workshop with her previous employers. Gemma said: “I’d always kept an eye on what was going on around the county and regularly checked the Growth Hub website news. I got in touch with the Cumbria Business Growth Hub to tell them I was thinking about setting up a business and asked how they could help me.
“I was so surprised at how much they could actually help, a lot more than I thought!”
Gemma benefitted from support through the Business Start-Up Support scheme which offers free support and advice to those starting their own business, those becoming self-employed 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, further training and workshops and help with a business plan.
Gemma explained how she had really benefitted from the online 3-day start up course which covered general business information, finance and marketing. “Listening to the other business owners on the call was great and hearing the positives and negatives and knowing we were all in the same boat was reassuring.
“There were so many fantastic marketing ideas being thrown around it was great.”
Gemma was then allocated time with a Growth Hub business adviser, Julie Housby. Gemma said: “Julie was brilliant, I look at things in a certain way and it was easy to get absorbed in the business. Julie looked at things from a completely different perspective and was able to say, ‘this is what you need to do’. She offered a huge amount of support both professionally and personally in my venture, through business strategy, modelling and planning.
“Both Julie Housby and Jackie Harris helped me with business from planning to social media they were great at getting me off the starting blocks.”
Lake District Relocation generated over £100,000 in the last 12-month period. Gemma said: “This was a huge milestone for me and was my goal for around year 3!”
Gemma’s now at the stage of talking about growth and what steps are next and can access further support through Cumbria Business Growth Hub.
“Lake District Relocation is more successful than I ever thought it would be. I smashed any targets I thought that I could achieve last year and the fact that Cumbria Business Growth Hub can help me now grow my business, even more, is great, it means I can concentrate on what needs to happen to push myself and the business to the next level”
Gemma’s advice to anyone starting a business is: “Reach out for help, there’s that much of it out there! And also, to listen to people’s experiences.”
Thinking of setting up your own business? We can help!
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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.