Café offers slice of vintage paradise with Launchpad support

A young entrepreneur with a penchant for the past is brewing a bright future for herself after securing help from a unique Sheffield City Region-wide business support programme.

Determined to achieve her childhood dreams of running her own café, Emily Hurst (22), opened the vintage-inspired Memory Lane Tearoom last summer. Borne from her love of all things vintage, Emily’s business was inspired by childhood trips to her grandparents’ house, where she would bake with her grandma and watch black and white films from cinema’s golden age.

After performing in 1940’s era plays while at college and later working in jobs that turned up the heat on her baking skills, Emily decided to take a risk and peruse her ambitions, by combining her love of 1940’s décor with her flair for baking, to set up her own café.

Emily acquired a grant from The Prince’s Trust and together with money she had carefully saved, began the search for premises for her budding café. Sadly, for the entrepreneur dreams turned into a nightmare, as the seemingly perfect premises she had found quickly turned out to be unsuitable and soon after, her grandmother passed away.

After such a personal loss, Emily was considering taking a break from pursuing her business dreams, but unexpectedly stumbled across an alternative property. She acquired the building and began working with the Prince’s Trust, a delivery partner for Launchpad which is a free support service aimed at helping new entrepreneurs transform their business ideas into a commercial reality.

The advice and support provided by Launchpad allowed Emily to take part in a range of workshops, enabling her to get to grips with marketing her business, understanding how to manage cashflow and learning how to write a successful business plan. The support she received gave the ambitious young entrepreneur the confidence to launch Memory Lane Tearoom, which now thrives selling fresh food and stylish afternoon teas to a host of regulars and a steady stream of new guests.

Emily Hurst, Founder, Memory Lane Tearooms, said:

“Opening and running my own vintage café has been a dream of mine for years, but I quickly realised that as an entrepreneur you don’t just have to know about running your business: you are responsible for every aspect of its development too.

“The difficulties I encountered, coupled with the loss of my grandma who had inspired my business, really knocked my confidence and I was ready to take a step back and put my dreams on hold. The new premises I found felt like a parting gift from my grandma and this, along with support I received from The Prince’s Trust and Launchpad, gave me the confidence I needed to believe in my goals.

“Running a business is a sharp learning curve, particularly when it comes to understanding the financial aspects involved. I’m still in touch with a Prince’s Trust business advisor – they are my main source of support and always there to provide help, guidance and encouragement. I’m looking forward to embarking upon the next phase of my business journey and I know that my grandparents would be extremely proud of me.”

Greg Tipper, Launchpad Business Advisor, added:

“Emily’s grit, determination and sheer drive to succeed shows that she’s a natural born entrepreneur. Despite the difficulties she encountered during her business journey, Emily has successfully transformed adversity into opportunity and I think the popularity of her tea rooms is a testament to her hard work and dedication.

“Arguably, one of the greatest challenges facing any new entrepreneur is understanding the very different roles business owners must embrace. From managing cashflow to recruiting staff and attracting new customers, there can be a lot to learn in a relatively short space of time. The training programmes we deliver through Launchpad are aimed at equipping entrepreneurs with the vital skills and knowledge they need to succeed.”

Launchpad is the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub’s key business support programme, aimed at new entrepreneurs and business which have been trading for less than two years. Backed by the European Regional Development Fund and delivered by local authorities within the Sheffield City Region and the Prince’s Trust, the programme provides free help and support to budding entrepreneurs in the City Region. Further information can be found at www.scrlaunchpad.co.uk

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