Tracey Blake has big ambitions for Student Nannies, believing it has the potential to be a £6million business within three to five years. But first she needs investment, and that’s why she was very happy to sign up for the Fit4Funding service, which offers free advice on business growth and corporate finance to entrepreneurs based in Buckinghamshire.
Tracey remembers exactly the moment that the seeds of a business idea were sown in her head. She was at Princes Risborough station waiting for a train to take her to London and the offices of The Daily Mail where she worked as an editor.
“I was thinking about childcare and how difficult it is for working mums when I overheard two students talking about the things they could do to earn some money,” Tracey explains.
“We ended up having a chat about how we could square those twin needs – my need to have someone look after my two children after school and their need to find some flexible paying work that fitted into their studies.”
That was in late 2015, and a few months later Student Nannies was born. Student Nannies is an online platform that connects parents and students. It comes with lots of added attractions such as the ability for parents to search for students studying a subject their child enjoys or needs help with. Conversely, students can search for parents by profession, giving them a possible leg-up with their career.
"I am now investor-ready"
Seeking investment to grow her business, Tracey knew she needed advice and support in order to improve her understanding of the financial side of her business model. “As a journalist, I know I’m good at telling the story behind Student Nannies but I’m the first to admit that I needed some help with the numbers, so I could also talk confidently about what a profitable business it is,” Tracey says. “That’s where Fit4funding has been so good for me: I am now investor-ready, with a water-tight financial model that I understand inside out.”
Tracey has found the interactive workshops that make up part of the Fit4Funding service to be full of useful, practical tips for running a better business, and she has enjoyed networking with fellow business owners.
However, she reserves her biggest praise for the one-to-consultancy she has received from Amandeep Dhillon at Harwood Hutton. “It has been incredibly valuable,” she says, “and thanks to Amandeep, I have emerged with a much more detailed revenue model which I am much happier about.”
Fit4Funding is part of Buckinghamshire Business First’s Growth Programme, which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).