A young mum with a passion for print is hoping that when it comes to running a small business, she’s quite literally got the t-shirt, when she decided to leave her family firm to pursue the dream of running her own business.

Rebecca Newrick’s entrepreneurial ambitions were stoked when she spotted an advert on an online marketplace for a specialist type of heating press, used to create T-Shirt designs. Her bid proved to be a winning one and she started selling her designs to friends and family.

Having successfully mastered the equipment, she began advertising her screen printing services online, and she soon found her services in demand from school leavers, stag and hen parties and events. Feeling confident she’d come up with a winning business formula, Rebecca turned to the Launchpad programme, a unique business support scheme, to help her transform her lucrative side-line into a full-time business.

Working with experienced business advisor Julia Millea, Rebecca drafted a thorough business plan and attended a wide range of resources including training workshops to help locate customers, secure appropriate premises and develop professional social network platforms, whilst also benefitting from one-to-one mentoring sessions.

Having been forced to put her business on hold during the Covid-19 pandemic, Rebecca used the time to re-evaluate her business plans and decided to expand into the workwear market, as well as providing clothing for schools. The decision proved to be the right one. Since re-launching her business, the company has expanded into larger premises three times, and the Rotherham-based entrepreneur has also successfully recruited three members of staff through the Kickstart scheme.

Rebecca said: “My business started almost by chance. I was working in the family business, balancing my career with looking after my family. I wanted to create a better work-life balance for myself, and when I saw the machine being advertised, I decided to take a gamble and launch my own business.

“Having worked in the family company for a number of years, I knew that it would take more than an idea to make the business a success, but I liked the idea of being able to work at times that suited me, allowing me to spend more time with the family. To my surprise, orders soon started flooding in, and I relocated the company from my front room to new premises. Then the lockdown struck, and I was forced to close the business.

"I used the time to review my business plans and decided to join the Launchpad programme. Working with Julia helped to give my ideas clarity, and when the restrictions were lifted, I felt confident I’d developed a stronger business, which didn’t just rely upon events, but one that was likely to be in demand all year round. Since re-opening, I’ve outgrown three different business premises, and through the help I’ve received from Launchpad, I’ve been able to successfully create three new jobs in the company, giving a number of young people the chance to build careers for themselves.

"At the beginning of lockdown, I began to question whether being an entrepreneur was right for me, but the help and support I received from the Launchpad team gave me the confidence to believe in my ideas. Taking part in the workshops helped me to think about how I wanted to build and grow the business, and by putting those lessons into practice, the business has grown beyond my wildest dreams.”

Julia Millea, business advisor at Launchpad, said: “Starting any new business can be an incredibly exciting time; however, not long after launching her business, Rebecca’s plans were thrown into jeopardy when Covid-19 struck and the business went into lockdown. Like any successful entrepreneur, Rebecca realised that when the hospitality industry closed, her business would be seriously affected. Like any true entrepreneur, she transformed adversity into opportunity and has shown some incredible growth over the past six months.

"Achieving a better work-life balance is a common reason why people consider leaving the rat race and consider self-employment as a career choice; however, without the right plans in place, some often find themselves working longer and harder than they did in the job they left behind. Working with Launchpad not only helped Rebecca to refine her business ideas, but by putting the lessons she learned in the workshops and training sessions into practice, Rebecca has not only needed to expand her business premises three times to meet the rising stock demands, but she is also helping to create new jobs in the local economy, something that is a terrific achievement for any start-up business.”

Launchpad is a business support programme for new businesses. Financially supported by the European Regional Development Fund and delivered by local authorities within South Yorkshire and the Prince’s Trust, the programme provides free help and support to budding entrepreneurs who are thinking of starting their own business or looking for help to achieve business growth.