Janet Rach – Food Manufacturer

After being out of work for a few years due to ill health, Janet registered at the Job Centre for support. She had previously owned a restaurant during which time her passion for food led her to blend and make her own spices and sauces. These proved so popular with customers that they started buying her spices and sauces to take home with them.   This gave her the inspiration to start her own new business, Ena Pa.

Her job centre advisor referred her to Blue Orchid who deliver the New Enterprise Allowance programme in Merseyside, who were able to support Janet to structure her business idea into a solid business plan, look at her sales forecasts in the first year and most importantly find the much-required start-up capital required to get her business going.

Fast forward to now, and having completed the mentoring programme, Janet is very positive about her new business venture and feels like she has her own destiny in her hands as she starts looking at supplying her delicious products

Janet says:

“The New Enterprise Allowance scheme is a wonderful programme for people like me with little financial means. The NEA has enabled me to go into self-employment and concentrate on my new business without having to sign on.”

“My Blue Orchid Business Mentor helped me to get a grant from Remploy towards material costs and a loan from Newable to help me support my business at the beginning.”

“Most importantly, the Business Mentor took away my anxiety for the future allowing me to fully concentrate on my business.”

Janet goes on to say:

“Ena Pa offers home-made African and Caribbean spices and sauces along with healthy snacks using, wherever possible, lots of regional and local-grown products. I sell my products at markets throughout the North West. “


Jacob Bagley – Personal Fitness Trainer

Jaqob has always been a very active and sporty person who loves to help people and take on a challenge, from the age of 16 – 18 He unfortunately lost both of his parents which led to a lack of focus in his personal life and led to problems with anxiety. At the age of 19 he decided to really focus on his fitness and channel his issues though his training. This led him to training in powerlifting and competing in his first competition at the age of 20 in 2014. With his issues with anxiety and an injury he suffered he came out of University after his first year and came back to live with his foster parents who are his main support network.

He then decided to compete in his first powerlifting competition to challenge himself, which clearly went well as he was later was emailed by Team GB GPC Powerlifting to say he had qualified to compete in the Juniors 100kg category at the World Championships in Czech Republic.

Shortly after this he attempted the world record deadlift which was 328kg which unfortunately he just missed on the day as he “ran out of steam”, however he then started to think he could channel his passion into his own business.

Speaking to his job centre advisor, he discussed the option of self-employment as a personal fitness trainer. He was then referred to Blue Orchid under the New Enterprise Allowance Programme to receive business advice and support to help him make his self-employment dream a reality.

Jaqob says:

“I have never had experience of starting my own business, it was just a dream I had and a passion that the NEA made come true. The support I had from my business advisor was excellent she was always so positive and personal with me.   I felt extremely comfortable asking questions and discussing issues and worries that I had.”

Jaqob goes on to say:

“The seminars put on were excellent I especially got a lot from the marketing and money management ones that were put on. The locations were also great.” “I feel now with help from the NEA I am in the perfect position to let my business flourish with the skills and confidence I have gained from the help they have offered me throughout. “

“Business is going well and I focus on one to one training with my clients and nutritional support and training programmes and one to one support to help them achieve their personal and fitness goals.”

Cheryl Kerr – Life Coach

Name: Cheryl Kerr
Area: Liverpool
Business: Life Coach

Cheryl was on benefits for over a year due to having treatment for breast cancer.  However, this didn’t stop stop her plans of becoming a self employed Life Coach. She had utilised a lot of self-help & motivational techniques to combat her own experiences of depression & Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome since being diagnosed and she decided that she wanted to be able to share these techniques with other people who have had similar traumatic experiences or difficult times in their lives.

Through DWP/JobcentrePlus, Cheryl was put in touch with Carole Shepphard of Blue Orchid who is a business advisor for the New Enterprise Allowance programme across Merseyside.

Cheryl benefited from bespoke 1-2-1 business advice from Carole who helped her to put together a viable business plan & realistic cash flow forecast.   Together, they were able to point out things Cheryl hadn’t thought of when thinking about starting a business including advice about registering with HMRC and they were able to signpost me to useful resources as I was setting up my website & starting to look at marketing strategies.

Cheryl states:

“The weekly NEA payments that I receive as a result of the scheme have really helped me out along the way, as a new business where the income is not guaranteed these payments have taken a bit of pressure off me, the payments have served as a ‘buffer’ & have definitely made starting out on my own less ‘scary’ as I know I have a little breathing space each week as I’m building my business.”

Since starting trading, Cheryl has benefit from attending a number of Blue Orchid Mentoring events where she has had the opportunity to seek advice from experts across several disciplines of business as well as being able to expand her business network:

these have been really useful as they give practical advice such as how to create an effective web presence, I will definitely be attending more of them in the future, I’ve learned a lot from attending these sessions”

As Cheryl looks to the future now, what would she say about her experience on the programme?

To anyone who is thinking of starting out in business after being on benefits I would highly recommend the NEA scheme in fact, I have recommended it to people in a similar position to mine.  I don’t think I’d have had the courage to start a business on my own without this support, it has been amazing & I’m really looking forward to the future.