On the surface London-based account manager Jody Dennett had it all.
A successful career at one of the UK’s leading marketing agencies, an active social life and a place of her own in an area that she loved, but beneath it all she struggled with debilitating, chronic back pain.
Having suffered with chronic back pain for the majority of her adult life, Jody thought she had exhausted all avenues in finding a cure for her ailments until she discovered deep tissue massage therapies.
The chance discovery turned out to be a turning point in Jody’s life, convinced that she could help others like her. In a dramatic change of location and career, Jody left the rat-race behind and launched a business specialising in deep tissue massage, Flex Therapy, with the help of Business West.
New to the South West, Jody began searching for finance to help launch her business and ran up against a number of dead ends before discovering Business West, who helped her secure a £5,000 Virgin StartUp loan.
Speaking about her experience Jody said:
“Business West were great. They suggested a number of avenues for obtaining funding and in the end advised me that a Virgin StartUp loan would work best for me.
“They helped me with all the paperwork, giving me detailed advice on how to put the strongest possible application forward, and my loan was approved in no time.
”I received my funding almost immediately and the support of my Business Adviser has been invaluable. The programme has far surpassed my expectations.”
Tara Gillam, Head of Enterprise, Business West, commented:
“In the years since the financial crisis, start-ups have found it difficult to secure funding from traditional lenders such as their high-street bank and this has seen a variety of non-traditional lenders spring up and fill the gap.
“Although certainly not impossible, I would always advise budding entrepreneurs to seek out professional advice rather approaching lenders on spec. Start-up lenders look for a viable business plan and a proven concept and it is important that you get this across on your loan application.
“Jody is the living embodiment of a proven concept, so when we were trying to find funding for Flex Therapy we emphasised how valuable the services she provides are for the local community.”
In addition to initial support from the Business West Start & Grow team and her £5,000 Virgin StartUp loan, Jody has also received a year’s free membership to the Business West Chamber of Commerce which will ensure her business is constantly supported and networked with the relevant support services. She will also receive three years of mentoring from Business West, which will give her the opportunity to engage in quarterly webinars covering legal, finance and marketing topics.
Over a 12 month period Business West has helped over 700 local businesses to start up, creating over 300 additional jobs and granting £2,920,433 in start-up loans.