It had been a long-standing dream of Sophie Bower to one day own her own events planning and catering business, but lack of confidence and fear of all things financial prevented her from pursuing her ambition.
It was the NESTA neighbourhood challenge in Brixham; a community project run by Brixham Youth Enquiry Service (YES) that enabled her to collaborate with her daughter, Millie, and set up an events and catering business, organising a number of local events and taking bookings for private parties. As part of the NESTA challenge, Sophie also joined free local business start-up support programme, Outset Torbay and soon gained the valuable encouragement she needed to develop her business ideas and skills.
From the outset, Sophie wanted to work in partnership with her daughter, “Millie is an exceptional baker, but doesn’t realise her own potential. I wanted to inspire her by being brave and reaching for something I really wanted. I hoped that by contributing and sharing that achievement, Millie would also grow in confidence and self-belief.”
Sophie and Millie completed Outset Torbay’s Introduction to Enterprise and Business Start-up workshops, working with their advisor, Liz, to develop their plans to open a coffee bar and catering service called Millie and Me.
“We literally would not be where are now without the support of Outset Torbay. The encouragement and advice, particularly around finances, was perfectly aimed at our level, so it was easy to understand and follow. The sessions were also fun and enabled us to get to know other new businesses and network.”
The fear of finances was finally overcome as Sophie gained the valuable skills to put together a financial forecast and business plan, which was later approved for micro loan funding via South West Investment Group (SWIG).
“Outset Torbay put us in contact with SWIG. Having our business plan endorsed by them was a seminal moment for us and inspired confidence in our plans.”
Located in King Street, Brixham, Millie and Me Coffee Bar serves homemade cakes, pies and pastries, daily ‘special’ baguettes and paninis made with fresh, seasonal and local ingredients and above all ‘great coffee’! The business also offers an affordable and professional events planning and catering service.
For more information on Millie and Me visit www.millieandme.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Outset Torbay has been funded by the ERDF Competitiveness and Employment programme and Torbay Development Agency which invests in activities that will have a long-term impact on the growth and development of the local economy.