Company – Phase 1 Enterprise Training CIC
Project Name: My OutSpace Business Centre
MSc in Business Studies and Management Research
Enterprise! Spotlight features Yuliana Topazly, an successful Business Educator, and SFEDI Mentor and Trainer who has worked with over 150 enterprise owners across the UK since their establishment.
She is a leading authority in developing and delievering Enterprise and Employability programmes within higher education institutions and the private sector.
Most recently,Yuliana established OUTSPACE, an extended service provided through Phase 1 Enterprise Training Ltd, a company she co-founded with Selwyn Seymour in 2012.
Since graduating from Kingston University, Yuliana has been a successful business women, entrepreneur, mother and mentor, Yuliana was able to idenfy the need for providing incubation space for entrepreneurs with young families through her own experience as a new mom. Originally from Russia, she is now based in London where she provides female entrepreneurs with services and resources to help them establish and develop their enterprising careers.
She has a soild track record for understanding the needs of businesses at every stage.
Can you tell us about MyOutSpace?
MyOutSpace Business Centre provides a flexible and safe learning working environment for female – entrepreneurs who can enjoy affordable arrangements with space, whilst gaining direct access to professional training, business support and childcare to develop their businesses (or business ideas) and network with like-minded people.
Was there a particular reason why you chose to focus on women?
Our target market is aspiring and active female entrepreneurs based in the Borough of Croydon, which is the most populated and largest Borough in London. The majority of its population is women (51.87%), 98,000 of whom are aged 20 to 59 years old. Also only 7% of women are self-employed and over 33% are economically inactive (Croydon Borough Profile Report, 2010 – See Appendix 6 for appropriate links). These demographics represent a potentially lucrative market for our services, which range from training to hosting fledgling female-owned businesses.
How did the idea for your business come about?
My main driver was the opportunity to be in control of my own decisions, budgets and time and to find the right work-life balance; also important were the opportunity to create and manage something new, save money on childcare and develop and grow professionally without any ‘boundaries’.
Was there a market for it?
Yes, if this were not so, we would not have persisted this far. Even though, it must be said that the business model is ‘localised’.
How have you promoted or marketd your business?
A huge part of our marketing strategy is Digital Marketing and Partnerships. We believe you can always turn your competitor into a partner and we managed to do it very successfully over the last two years.
Also, winning one of the Croydon Business Awards in 2013 for Commitment to the Community was a great help to market the business and make the right connections within the local authority.
For students who want to start a business, how did you fund Phase 1?
Through a combination of Personal Funds, Competitions, Grants and Croydon Growth Loan Fund and StartUp Loan
What has been your biggest challenge and how have you overcome it?
The biggest challenge thus far has been to raise the requisite finance and find an appropriate leasehold commercial property. It was hard to believe that with the steadily increasing number of empty commercial units two years ago, it would take almost 20 months to secure one. It has been a huge learning curve and the biggest help came from personal networks, which helped to identify the right resources, advise on the process and help us to achieve our goals.
“It was hard to believe that with the steadily increasing number of empty commercial units two years ago, it would take almost 20 months to secure one”.
Looking back, what would you have done differently with your business/project?
I would have started the business earlier and search for an appropriate commercial property more widely and continuously.
You have been very successful with so many of your ventures, what are you proud of and where do you want to be in 5 years?
Yes! Winning the Croydon Business Award in 2013, securing funding for the business and finally reaching agreement on an appropriate commercial property. In 5 years time I would like to have 2 centres in proximate London Boroughs; having started in Croydon, I would like the second to be in Sutton or Bromley.
How did University support you in developing and growing your business/project?
The Kingston University Enterprise Department and WestFocus was great help to me in developing my entrepreneurial ambitions by introducing me to classroom learning, professional events, student competitions and collaboration with like-minded people in other universities.
Most beneficial was attending my first Bright Futures, a 3-day Boot Camp, winning the Bright Ideas Competition on four different occasions individually and as a part of a team and of course expanding my network of business experts. Developing the actual idea and learning all the key skills and business processes to make it happen all stemmed from my time at Kingston and the support given me by the department.
If could share something with our students, what would it be?
Enterprise skills are perhaps the most under-rated employability skill. In a constantly changing world of work and lack of job security it is important to ensure graduates are equipped for all possible career options, which must include setting up and running their own business.
To learn more, follow Yuliana:
Twitter : @Phase1Training