Starting a business for the first time will always be a huge undertaking, one that requires a lot of grit and determination – but starting a business for the first time during a global pandemic takes absolute nerves of steel.
And, it seems, new business owner Demi Gibson has all these qualities and more in abundance, working on developing her own bakery brand even while the healthcare crisis was looming overhead and while working in the retail sector full time.
She initially had plans in place to open her shop in Hessle in May 2021, but covid-19 soon put paid to that, hindering her progress on agreeing to a contract on her new premises. Part of the problem was that lockdown restrictions were making it difficult for tradespeople to gain access to the site to assess the works and carry out refurbishments.
In need of help, Demi got in touch with the Invest East Riding business support team through the East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC) website.
At the time, she had already taken steps to register with Companies House so progress was well underway, but we were able to guide her in her registration with the ERYC food safety team, business rates and provide her with factsheets (craft bakery, homemade cake and biscuit maker) to ensure she covered all her bases.
We also informed her of the ICT Startup Grant and the Love Your High Street grant available through the GrowmySME programme and East Riding Council.
Fast forward to July 2021 and, unfortunately, Demi encountered some unexpected problems with the revamp of her chosen premises. Plumbing and flooring problems were discovered that hadn’t been picked up during the restricted lockdown inspection.
With some negotiation and understanding of the grant objectives, we were able to apply for a second LYHS grant with an ‘exceptional circumstance’ caveat. Demi secured additional funds through a second grant matched with her own funds and was able to continue the essential works needed.
Demi has now opened her first bricks-and-mortar bakery, an incredible display of bold business determination. You can also find her on Instagram and Facebook, where you’ll also find very moreish photographs of some delicious-looking baked goods!
Here’s what Demi had to say about the guidance and support we offered her along her journey:
“I found the support and information I got through the council amazing. Not only did the funding help me to get my business up and running, the online courses and help from Stacey helped me understand more about business. An all-round great experience!”
If you’d like to find out more about how Invest East Riding can help you develop your business in the future, get in touch with us today.