Sheffield college course inspires coastal business dreams

Moving to the coast to set up a new business is a pipe dream for many people. But former Sheffield environmental protection officer Phillip Hesketh has taken the plunge and gained a national enterprise award for his business idea along the way.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 4th July 2016, 8:55 am
Updated Monday, 4th July 2016, 9:57 am
Phil and Sophie Hesketh.  Picture by Scott Wicking.
Phil and Sophie Hesketh. Picture by Scott Wicking.

Phillip, 34, and his wife Sophie, 31, a teacher, always harboured an ambition to run their own business. Now they have opened The Belfry Whitby, a guesthouse in the popular Yorkshire seaside town, after completing a part-time business course at The Sheffield College.

Phillip said: “The course was brilliant. It really helped us to get off the starting blocks. We had a great business concept. But we had no idea how to write a business plan.” He added: “Gaining that knowledge and confidence has been pivotal to our success. When I submitted the business plan to our bank manager, he said it was one of the best he had ever seen.”

The SFEDI Creating and Starting Your Own Business course gives students the practical know-how to turn their idea into a real business. Topics include research, marketing, finance, sales and business planning, and support from a business advisor. The course runs two days a week for eight weeks and is free to people who are out of work. For more information, call The Sheffield College on 0114 2602600 or email [email protected]

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The couple, who are seasoned travellers, have enjoyed stints working abroad in France and Indonesia between their careers in environmental science and teaching. They wanted to combine running their own business with moving to the coast. To finance the business, they sold their property in Sheffield and moved to Whitby last year. They also successfully applied to their bank for a business loan.

Phill and Sophie started renovating an eight-bedroomed double-fronted Victorian property that they bought in the town’s West Cliff area last year. The bed and breakfast opened to customers in July 2015, Click here

Now they are putting the finishing touches to the property as they gear up for their first full summer season. “We loved living in Sheffield and getting out in to the Peak District however we also enjoy the sea views here and the fact we are so close to the North Yorkshire moors,” added Phillip.

In a double success, Phillip was named Enterprise Learner of the Year in the Celebrating Enterprise Awards in November 2015 for demonstrating extraordinary enterprise flair with his business idea. The awards celebrate the very best in enterprise learning and skills from across the UK. They are led by SFEDI, the government recognised skills council for enterprise, and the Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs, the online institute which recognises and supports the skills of enterprising people.

Heather Smith, Principal, The Sheffield College, said: “Encouraging people to be entrepreneurial and to set themselves up in business has been a strength of The Sheffield College for a number of years and we have many talented staff who work hard to achieve this. I am delighted to hear how the work we do has had such an impact on the lives of former students. I wish Phillip and Sophie all the very best in their new venture.”

Find out how our other alumni have got on in their careers by Clicking here