Dawn Kickstarts her furniture firm

Allan Wood, from UK Steel Enterprise, helps Dawn Brown man the phones at her Rotherham-based business, Fresh and Chic Boutique.
Allan Wood, from UK Steel Enterprise, helps Dawn Brown man the phones at her Rotherham-based business, Fresh and Chic Boutique.
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Young entrepreneur Dawn Brown has doubled the size of her Rotherham-based furniture recycling business thanks to a £500 grant from UK Steel Enterprise’s Kickstart Fund

Dawn, from Catcliffe, specialises in taking old furniture and “up-cycling” it to give it a new lease of life with a contemporary retro or vintage look.

She launched her Fresh and Chic Boutique in January and the grant has enabled her to open up a new workshop that is twice the size of the workshop at the back of her boutique on Woodhouse Green, Thurcroft where she sells furniture and rents out space to a number of other antiques traders.

Fresh and Chic Boutique is a second venture into the antiques business for Dawn, who was secretary of the Sheffield Antiques Quarter group.

“When you start a business up from scratch it is twice as hard as the first time because there is nothing out there to help you get started. I am really grateful to UK Steel for believing in me and giving me the grant. The new workshop is perfect and seeing as I had outgrown the other one it means I can really start growing the business,” said Dawn.

UK Steel Enterprise regional executive Allan Wood said: “Dawn has a clear vision on how to maximise income with her business model and her skills in turning old furniture into something desirable and saleable is self-evident. Our funding has given her business a substantial boost and we are delighted to be able to support her ambition. Our aim with the Kickstart Fund is to support even more people like Dawn in Rotherham and across South Yorkshire.”

UK Steel Enterprise was established in 1975 by the then British Steel Corporation and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tata Steel.

Its main investment fund provides investments ranging from £25,000 to £750,000 to companies in South Yorkshire and other areas affected by changes in the steel industry, while its Kickstart Fund provides grants of up to £500 to help start-up businesses purchase essential equipment and services to get them trading.

The company also provides support to local communities in times of change in the industry by helping to fund local projects and initiatives which help job creation and regeneration.

Anyone wanting to make an application to the Kickstart Fund should call Rotherham Youth Enterprise on 0114 2695053.

Applicants have to be aged between 18 and 30 and live in the Borough of Rotherham.