Founded in 2017 The Small Business Academy was launched by multi award-winning entrepreneur Nikki Hesford, as an all-round source of support for small and start-up businesses.

The ‘Why’ Behind The Small Business Academy

The Small Business Academy Nikki Hesford

Our Founder Nikki started her business at the age of 23, in her final year of university. She hit upon an unmet demand for clothing and lingerie to fit bigger busted girls. She had no prior textile or business experience, but knew there was a market for the product.

With almost no cash, she set out to launch her start-up business but hit multiple challenges along the way – not understanding how to promote her business online, how to generate sales, run online ads or manage her own SEO, and no budget to pay someone for help, she had no choice but to figure it out through a matrix of failed experiments, free online information and training workshops where they were affordable (and not many were!)

Eventually, one sale became two, and two became ten, and within a couple of years the business took off – by 2010 Nikki had been awarded the Natwest Everywoman Artemis Business Award and in 2011 appeared on Dragons Den, securing private investment of £250,000 after the show had aired.

This enabled her to scale her brand, re-shore production to the UK and eventually culminated in running a factory in Preston with over a dozen machinists, and supplying her brand to the high street.

But her frustration remained around the lack of practical help and support for startup business owners. Training courses seldom left her with any usable information to implement – they would talk about the benefits of Facebook marketing, or SEO, or Social Media but never gave enough information to actually go and do it yourself.

The Small Business Academy was designed to help startup business owners get the professional help they need in vital skills such as marketing, with the sole focus of developing that training in a way that they could leave with enough knowledge to manage their own marketing until such a time they could afford to help for help.

What else does the Academy offer?

Training is one thing, but a small or start-up business needs far more than just help with their marketing. The Small Business Academy Peel House

Based on Nikki’s own experiences of growing a business, the Academy was developed to provide all of the necessities for succeeding as a new business. This includes low cost shared office space at our Coworking Space in Blackpool, affordable training room and meeting room hire and one-to-one business mentoring on an ad hoc per hour basis.

Many business coaches and mentors cost far more than your average start-up can afford and often they must commit to a package of support hours, rendering the help of experts well outside of their reach. The Small Business Academy offers mentoring and coaching payable on a per hour basis, as and when the business needs a bit of help. This can be done in person or Online.

Our Peel House Head Office is located close to Lytham, Blackpool and the surrounding areas and has ample free on-site parking. With a premium Rijo 42 Coffee machine and lots of friendly faces, it’s a supportive and comfortable location in which to base your new or small business – and regular hot desks (and use of our address!) cost just £50 per month.

We have a number of Social Events – including Summer BBQs, nights out and lunchtime running groups! Being amongst like minded professionals who share the same challenges gives you the enthusiasm and motivation to work on your business, and did we mention we have great coffee? ;-)