"The Incubator has been fantastic, that’s why I’m still here! I love the community as you’re never on your own, meaning you have others to bounce ideas off and network with. I also have access to the Incubator advisors who are here Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm"
“I have always strived to make a difference in the community and give children opportunities that I didn’t have. The right support, location and people all came together at the right time. I knew that this was the opportunity I had been waiting for to start my own business.”
In September 2012 Geraldine Savage set up 1st Note Education after the Job Centre referred her to Wenta for business advice. Wenta provided Gerry with a variety of training courses, her own personal business advisor and offered her a space in one of their business incubation centres in Potters Bar.
1st Note Education focus on primary school music teaching recruitment. They provide, and train, temporary and permanent classroom teachers qualified to cover the national curriculum as well as running music workshops and music clubs for primary school children.
Geraldine describes her business as operating in a niche market:
“I wanted to take one thing and be the best I could be in that area rather than stretch my resources too thin. Making sure our teachers are inspiration and aspirational in the classroom, that’s always been my goal and motto”
Geraldine describes starting her own business as daunting but she soon realised that having the right guidance when you’re starting up can make all the difference:
“I took all the courses that Wenta offered. The ‘Social Media’ course as well as the ‘Introduction to Marketing’ were particularly useful in helping me find customers. The ‘Business Planning’ and ‘Budgeting’ workshops helped me keep a tight control on my finances.
“The training courses assisted me by giving me vital skills I was lacking at the time, they helped fill in my weak-spots.”
4 years on and 1st Note Education has developed into a thriving business and now employ 3 additional members of staff. Jeff, Matt and Andrew help in various aspects of the business and the team is described by Gerry as: ‘One business lady and 3 music men!’
“In 2012 I had 6 teachers that I could supply to primary schools. We have now worked with 46 schools, have 134 teachers on the books and currently have 20-30 operating in schools as we speak”
Despite being an established business, Geraldine chooses to remain in the Incubator in The Enterprise Centre Potters Bar:
“The Incubator has been fantastic, that’s why I’m still here! I love the community as you’re never on your own, meaning you have other entrepreneurs to bounce ideas off and network with. I also have access to the Incubator advisors Jeremy and Charles who are here Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm.”
Gerry’s experience has shown her that anyone can start-up their own business, if they have the right attitude:
“If you’re thinking of starting a business then have confidence in yourself! Believe that you can achieve your goals and with the right support and a hardworking attitude you will exceed them.”
“When I started I didn’t know if this business was going to work. My focus was on making it to the 2-year survival point as that is when most small businesses fail. I just wanted to see if my business could fly. Now, after 4 and a half years, I would say we have grown some little wings!”