And the vital ingredient in getting 21-year-old Melissa Armstrong’s thriving enterprise going was the financial injection it received through business support group Entrust.
Wokaway in Newcastle city centre was launched on the back of a loan Melissa was given through Entrust, which is a local delivery partner for the Government-backed Start-Up Loans programme.
Entrust worked closely with Melissa in developing her business plan and in enabling her to access the funding she needed to get her business started.
Melissa now aims to grow her business nationally through a franchise model, having enjoyed excellent feedback from customers at her takeaway situated on Newgate Street near The Gate complex.
She said: “I feel really proud to be able to say that I own my own business. Normally when I tell people they are shocked because of my age, which I like to think is a good reaction.
“I would definitely urge other younger people looking to get into business in the North East to contact Entrust, especially as it can be so tough to get bank funding these days.”
Despite being only 21, Melissa has already shown herself to have entrepreneurial flair in her career to date. During her time at university, she worked for a company called Privilege Band in Bristol which marketed wristbands for discounts and special offers at leisure businesses such as pubs, clubs and restaurants.
After consistently exceeding sales targets she was promoted to the role of area manager, in which she was responsible for rolling out the business in Newcastle. She also previously launched her own venture which employed girls to sell shots in bars and nightclubs.
The Start-Up Loan scheme, which is targeted at budding entrepreneurs like Melissa who are aged 18 to 30, aims to give the next generation of entrepreneurs in the UK the finance and support they need to start their own business.
John Liddle, Lending Manager at Entrust, said: “It’s fantastic to be able to help young people fulfil their ambitions in business and to provide them with opportunities which enables them to begin their dream career.
“Budding entrepreneurs keen to emulate the success that Melissa has had so far should certainly consider applying for the Start-Up Loan scheme.”
Last month Prime Minister David Cameron announced an additional £30m for the Start-Up Loans programme, boosting the total pot for the scheme to over £110m over the next three years, potentially helping to start tens of thousands of new businesses across England.
Entrust is part of a consortium delivering Start-Up Loans, led by the Community Development Finance Association (CDFA). The consortium received up to £1.3million to boost youth entrepreneurship.
For more information on Entrust and on accessing Start-Up Loan funding visit www.entrust.co.uk.