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Smart move by nursery owner who was made redundant

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: October 26, 2012

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A woman who was made redundant from a children's charity has set up her own nursery.

Sarah Fenton launched Smartie Pants Day Nursery after she decided she wanted to continue helping her community.

She received a loan through the First Enterprise Business Agency (FEBA), which was recommended by The Prince's Trust.

And with the money she was able to set up the business in Mablethorpe.

"I received £5,000 and without it I would never have been able to go into business," she said.

"It doesn't sound terribly exciting but the money was used to buy a new boiler for my business premises.

"The loan was so important because there's no chance I would have been able to open without it. I have been so lucky to have received such help.

"It's not easy to get a loan from the bank anymore and within five weeks I had received the money from FEBA which I needed."

Smartie Pants Day Nursery caters for children aged from six weeks up to 11-years-old.

Ms Fenton currently has 14 children booked in at the nursery and 13 children for after school and the holiday club, which runs during the school holidays.

"It has all taken off better than I thought," she said.

"If anything, I underestimated what the take up would be.

"At an open day I had to print off more packs about the nursery because of the level of interest."

Ms Fenton moved into refurbished premises after it had remained derelict and vandalised for three years.

Her business has ten members of staff, all of whom are employed on a part-time basis.

To build her team, the entrepreneur targeted people who were unemployed and some who were without qualifications.

She got in touch with a local school to recruit sixth form leavers and employed four unqualified people who had a passion for childcare.

All of her staff members, including those who had previous relevant qualifications, are now all working to achieve the next level of qualifications.

FEBA was established to help pre-start and existing business owners throughout the region.

Small Loans for Business – part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and central Government – provide loans of between £3,000 and £10,000 unsecured and £3,000 to £50,000 secured.

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