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Business support helps Helen Sparkle

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A new mobile beauty therapy business specialising in advanced anti-ageing techniques is off to a flying start thanks to the support of a Barnsley business support programme.

Helen Townsend, who runs Ageless Sparkle, needed business guidance and help securing investment to buy the latest facial skincare equipment and get her fledgling business off the ground.

She turned to the SmartStart team at Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre who gave her the help she needed.

Helen, from Millhouse Green, said:

“I knew there was a market for the most up to date procedures like non-surgical facelifts and ultrasonic dermabrasion but the initial costs of buying the expensive, high-tech equipment and my lack of knowhow when it came to setting up a business was holding me back.

“I’d noticed a small business micro loan scheme from the Coalfields Regeneration Trust but didn’t know where to start with applying. I went along to a SmartStart open day at BBIC and got all the support I needed.

“I joined SmartStart, which has given me really useful advice on everything from writing a business plan through to marketing and accounting. Thanks to the team at BBIC I managed to secure the £2,500 loan I needed to get up and running. I couldn’t have done it without the help.”

SmartStart is a programme which helps businesses to get off the ground with a range of free support and advice sessions.

James Herbert, SmartStart programme manager, said:

“Helen’s business idea clearly had potential and she’d identified a gap in the market for her service. However, as with a lot of good business ideas, a lack of cash upfront was a real barrier.

“We worked hard to help Helen secure the funding and made sure she had the business skills she needed to move forward.”

“Since launching last year we’ve now had over 350 business enquiries and have seen over 150 start-up businesses at the open days. There’s a lot of business aspiration in Barnsley and we’re seeing some great businesses coming through the programme.

“Helen’s a fantastic example of what can be achieved when would-be entrepreneurs get that little extra help and support they need.”

The Smartstart programme is managed by BBIC, and is partnered with the Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council.

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Helen Townsend, who runs Ageless Sparkle

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