The FEOignition program has allowed me to gain confidence, self belief and provided me with extra focus.

Earlier this year I had decided to finally put my long term ambitions into action and forge ahead with developing Mindful Health Therapies, which works with clients on a one to one basis to enable them to reduce, minimise or eliminate pain from injuries and offers tools to manage and reduce stress. Mindful Engagement works with businesses to improve staff wellbeing and encourage staff engagement, reducing sickness and developing a sense of belonging in the workplace.

When I made this decision I sat down with my accountant who I also consider a friend and explained what I was hoping to achieve, Rebecca immediately said “Gemma, you need to get on the FEOignition programme, it’s been a game changer for me in so many ways and it will really help you.” I initially emailed Kerry who is the FEO Manager and placed my application in for the FEOignition program, I wasn’t a 100% sure what to expect, but Kerry gave me a call and explained how the program worked it sounded exactly what I needed to develop my business, I was nervous and excited all at the same time.

I was developing my business plan and working full time with a long term plan to exit my job as the business grew, but an opportunity arose to take redundancy and I thought if I don’t do it now when will I do it. The FEOignition program started within two weeks of me leaving my job and going full time with my businesses, when I went to the first session it was so welcoming and informal. I met so many individuals developing their businesses or business ideas and the friendliness of all there immediately put any nerves of mine aside, Sally introduced the first session and she set the tone of what to expect, with her humour and down to earth attitude.

Each week I was excited to be there and learn from successful entrepreneurs from Hull, not only did we get to listen and learn from their stories, but we had activities based around helping us develop our business ideas and key business skills. The beauty of listening to the stories of successful entrepreneurs was their honesty about their journeys from Jonathan Elvidge and the Gadget shop to Peter Aarosin on and his start as an entrepreneur at 16, the sessions were inspirational. I learned that I was not alone in the fears of setting up my own business, everyone in the room were in the same boat, but I also learnt key skills to take me and my business forward. The weekly sessions were structured in a way that offered opportunity to plan for your own business and brainstorm with those who were in the same process, allowing you develop and explore ideas, techniques which may not of entered your mind if it was for not being surrounded by the members of the FEO and those on the FEOignition program.

In developing and establishing my business this year at times I felt like I was walking around in the dark, learning on my feet or from those around me working in their own businesses, the FEOignition program has allowed me to gain confidence, self belief and provided me with extra focus.

I finished the program feeling invigorated and inspired about the possibilities ahead for me and my business and also knowing that I could reach out to those I met on the program. The support the FEOignition program offered is incredible and the difference I found is I felt like I was surrounded by a bunch of friends, offering me support, knowledge and confidence to make my business goals a reality.

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