BUSINESSWOMAN Susan Briganti was over the moon to be a finalist in the prestigious Susan Dobson Women Entrepreneur of the Year award.
But she was even more proud and excited when daughter Nicola Adams was named a finalist in the category Young Women Entrepreneur.
“What were the odds?” said Susan. “My daughter and I had attended the WIN awards dinners as guests of our accountants HW Accountants who urged us to enter the competition.
“I was on holiday when my daughter telephoned me to tell me she had been shortlisted, she was so excited.
“And when I returned from holiday and found I had also been shortlisted, we could not believe it.”
Susan Briganti of the North East Employment and Training Agency (Neeta) joined the company in 1989, which delivers training for young people and adults through Government-funded programmes such as National Apprenticeships and Employability Skills.
Initially holding the position of training manager she nurtured the business and grew its specialisms such as NVQs in hairdressing and beauty to create the successful business it is today, employing 36 staff across five delivery sites in Tyne and Wear.
After a management buyout Susan became the sole owner of the business in November 2006.
She said: “I did not like school and left with no formal qualifications but with the promise of an apprenticeship in hairdressing.
“It was only through my day release training that I discovered that in doing what I loved, I was able to excel, gain formal qualifications and find personal fulfilment.”
Daughter Nicola grew up with hairdressing in her blood: “She was so difficult to punish as a child,” said Susan. “When she was sent to her room, she went willingly and would be found putting her dolls hair up or into plaits. It was so frustrating!”
Like mum Susan, Nicola entered a Hairdressing Apprenticeship in a city- centre salon where she experienced commercial, competition and photographic work.
On completion of her Advanced Apprenticeship Nicola left the commercial side of hairdressing and joined Neeta Ltd as a trainer and assessor, supporting other young people to achieve skills.
But after three years she missed the commercial hands-on hairdressing and sought a new challenge.
Nicola acquired the lease of her first salon in May 2006 calling it The Nicola Adams Experience.
There was sufficient space to be able to sublet a third of the premises to Neeta for hairdressing training, creating a synergy between the businesses.
After a massive refit The Nicola Adams Experience in Clayton Street, Newcastle, opened in August 2006 and business has steadily grown.
Adjacent to the salon, and trading as 1st Degree Training, Neeta delivers hairdressing apprenticeships on a day release basis to young people employed in salons around the city.
Not content with this Nicola, at just 26, opened her second salon The Nicola Adams Experience 2 at Chillingham Road, Newcastle, in May and now employs nine staff including three apprentices trained by Neeta.