Name of business: Spark Training.
Location: Clara Vale, Gateshead, but works throughout Northumberland, Gateshead and Newcastle.
Line of business: Training programmes for schools, colleges and businesses.
Director: Jacqueline Hobson.
How long have you been established?
Since October 2006, about eight months.
Where did you go for business advice?
Gateshead Council were fantastic. I was given guidance with my business plan and some really good advice.
How did you decide which line of business to enter?
It was a natural step. I have years of experience working as a drama teacher, and really enjoyed the shift into training, so it made sense to set up in my area of expertise. Within that role I trained drama teachers in Cheshire and then went on to become a business consultant, running training programmes. My unique selling point is that I am the only person in the North who is licensed to run the Fish Philosophy.
It is an international course which focuses on good customer service. I was asked to design and launch a programme for schools, which I have run for one of the Education Business Partnerships in the area.
How did you come up with the company name?
My husband came up with the name. I feel that it gives a positive message – spark of an idea, spark of imagination, sparkle etc. It’s also short and easy to spell.
What is the best thing about running your own business?
I love being my own boss as I can be creative in my approach and really focus on client needs. I also like to run my own diary, I have two young children, so my work now fits so well with being a mother.
What advice do you have for anyone starting out?
Don’t give up, it’s a rollercoaster ride but if you feel that you have something good to offer, then keep believing in yourself.