Over 50s entrepreneurs are prospering in Sheffield by employing the skills and experience they accumulated during their years of work.
Lynda Jackson was looking forward to a less stressful life after 30 years with South Yorkshire Police.
She took retirement at 49 but after only a year, no longer relished her new lifestyle. “I realised I needed to be doing something - keeping my mind active,” says the Chapeltown mum of two.
A keen sewer, she went to work in a fabric shop in Attercliffe. The job gave her a new passion in life; quilting.
“People said I was so good at it I should set up in business,” says Lynda. “I decided to tap into the mass popularity of quilting by providing a service transforming people’s quilt-work into bed covers, table runners, cot bedding and children’s playmats.”
A PRIME training course last September gave her three interactive classroom days, plus coursework. She created a business plan and a projection of income and invested in a costly longarm quilting machine and frame. Capricorn Quilting (www.capricornquilting.co.uk) can take patchworks up to 12’ wide. Lynda, 54, is kept constantly busy at her studio in the SOAR Enterprise Centre.
She promotes her services via Facebook and a blog, runs quilting courses, has purchased specialist embroidery machines and has now found a manufacturer to make UK versions of the American rulers and templates quilters had to import from the States.
A fellow classmate on last autumn’s PRIME course was Hugh Long, a former engineer who is now a private maths tutor.
Hugh, 55, of Crosspool, worked for large corporates for 25 years before swapping professions to become a maths teacher in Sheffield secondary schools. He switched careers again, working at Rotherham Council in project management, but yearned to go back to teaching maths.
He launched the Sheffield Maths Tutor and went on the PRIME course to build up his business skills. “The advice I got was very good. It taught me not to be afraid to charge what I felt I was worth and how to develop a good marketing plan,” he says. “The course was relevant to my age group. I was with my peers, which felt comfortable. The tutor and some of the speakers were older than me and were successfully self-employed, which I found inspiring.
“Business is booming and I’m nearly at maximum capacity. But what I feel even more proud of is I’m helping people who have struggled with maths for years. It’s so rewarding.
“I guess I’m a necessity entrepreneur because I needed to do something that made me feel useful.”