A Cookstown woman is celebrating the success of her online vintage and pre-loved clothing business, Nana’s Attic,
Lesley Evans (33) launched this project after she completed a programme to help long-term unemployed people explore the opportunities for running their own business.
Lesley, who worked in retail for several years, became unemployed in 2012 and found it very difficult to find work.
She has always wanted to run her own business, and with the help of Cookstown Enterprise Centre and the Exploring Enterprise2 Programme (EE2P) she has now made that dream a reality, securing UK and international sales.
EE2P is part-funded by the European Social Fund, the Department for Employment and Learning, Enterprise NI and the local Enterprise Agencies under the NI ESF Programme 2007-13.
“Having been unemployed for some time, the local Jobs and Benefits office put me on the Steps to Work programme and offered me the choice of either going on a work experience placement or going on the Exploring Enterprise2 programme. =I jumped at the chance to learn how to run my own business,” she said.
“I was directed to Cookstown Enterprise Centre, where I was introduced to Dana McKenna, who became my business mentor. I already had a business idea, and just getting started and getting some sound advice gave me the confidence to get going.”
Cookstown Enterprise Centre has delivered a comprehensive training and development programme which gives candidates a formal CCEA qualification, as well as developing essential skills and improving confidence.
Dana McKenna from Cookstown Enterprise Centre said through the Exploring Enterprise2 Programme they hope to create a pool of new business talent.
“Although Lesley already had an idea for her business, candidates don’t need to have a specific business in mind to join. The programme provides an insight into starting a business and gets candidates thinking about the possibilities within their grasp. We can then help them take the next steps to help them fulfil their ambitions,” she added.
Gordon Gough, Chief Executive, Enterprise Northern Ireland said it’s encouraging to see that almost 1200 people have now completed the Exploring Enterprise2 Programme to date and in doing so they have increased their employment capabilities. Lesley’s business is run through Facebook: follow www.facebook.com/nanasattic.lesley.