Former cancer specialist Marijke Walters and her husband relocated to the UK from Malaysia in 2004 when her husband secured a new job.
Marijke found herself working on the checkout of a national DIY store before deciding to use her previous skills to train as a teacher.
She rapidly rose through the ranks, becoming the head of maths at a Rotherham secondary school, before taking up a role at the Doncaster School for the Deaf, where she taught maths through sign language.
She is now working towards becoming one of a select few teaching practitioners who can help children to overcome maths anxiety and dyscalculia, a condition similar to dyslexia which affects 3-6% of the population.
Belgian-born Marijke launched her tutoring business Maths Solutions in March 2020, but, just a week after taking the plunge into self-employment, Marijke found her plans in jeopardy when the first national lockdown effectively prevented her from delivering the face-to-face tuition.
To make matters worse, a few days later, all the summer GCSE exams were cancelled and realising that she needed to recalculate her business ambitions, so the Wath-based entrepreneur called upon the Sheffield City Region Launchpad programme for advice.
Working alongside dedicated business support manager Darren McDool, Marijke began formulating plans to move her business online and spent time building her own website, as well as turning to social media to help children master their maths skills.
Marijke Walters, owner of Maths Solutions, said: “I always liked the idea of working for myself, and so I decided to follow my dreams and launch my own business. In hindsight, I couldn’t have done this at a worse time, and when lockdown forced me to re-think my plans, I reached out to the Launchpad programme to see whether they could help me. After working with Darren, I realised I could move my business online and potentially help children not only on my doorstep but further afield too.
“The workshops taught me how to build my website and reach new customers, and since putting my own lessons into practice, I’ve seen demand for my tuition services grow. I’m now fully booked and even have a waiting list for next term. The support I’ve received from Launchpad has been invaluable to my business journey, and it gave me the confidence and skills to succeed in my new business venture.”
Her maths tuition business has not only been in high demand across South Yorkshire but she has been helping pupils from across the world, attracting pupils from as far afield as America, Russia and Germany.
Darren McDool, business advisor at Launchpad, said: "Marijke knew she needed to re-think her original plans, that meant not only thinking about how she could deliver her tuition sessions, but crucially understanding how to reach potential beneficiaries of her services. The success she’s achieved with her website helped her to reach a brand new audience, one which she previously felt would have been impossible to achieve.”
For more information about Launchpad, visit www.scrlaunchpad.co.uk.