Award-winning hairdresser Robert Sommerville is aiming to turn his new salon into a training academy for other young hairstylists in Rotherham, after getting a kick-start from UK Steel Enterprise.
Robert, 25, worked for a number of salons in Rotherham rising to become a salon manager, before winning a scholarship from L’Oreal, which took him all over Europe to study and learn about different cutting styles.
After deciding that setting up his own salon would give more scope to exercise his creative flair, Robert secured a grant from UK Steel Enterprise’s Kickstart Fund to help get him trading and is now renting space at Wickersley-based beauty salon Simply Beauty.
“Without the grant from UK Steel I would not have been able to do that or pay for the training I’m undertaking to become an NVQ trainer and assessor; so it really made a massive difference to me,” says Robert.
UK Steel Enterprise regional executive, Allan Wood, says Robert’s aim of becoming an employer made his grant application and business plan stand out from other applicants.
“The Kickstart Fund is designed for new businesses with the potential to create wealth in Rotherham and forms part of the UK Steel Enterprise ethos of supporting businesses that make a positive impact on the local economy by creating jobs,” said Mr Wood.
“Robert has already taken on one employee and we hope he goes on to create many jobs while helping other people to launch their own careers and obtain the qualifications they need.”
Robert has also won the praise of Jackie Frost, chief executive of Rotherham Youth Enterprise.
RYE works alongside UK Steel Enterprise, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Steel, to help applicants with business planning and mentoring through the early stages of running a new business.
She said: “Robert is a great example of what can be achieved with hard work and determination. We are happy to have helped Robert in the grant application process and look forward to providing further support as his hair salon grows.”
The Sheffield Business Awards, Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, Thursday, December 5, 2013, 7pm to 2am. Black tie/evening dress. Guest speaker Countryfile TV presenter Julia Bradbury. Tickets from £85. Visit www.sheffieldbusinessawards.org.uk