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Kerry’s enterprising idea checks out

John O'Groat Journal

A Thurso mother-of-one has turned her love of jewellery design and tartan into a business.

Kerry Speirs (24) set up Tartan at Heart last August after gaining funding from the Prince's Trust Youth Business Scotland (PTYBS) and the BT Scotland Young E-ntrepeneur Award scheme.

She offers hand-made jewellery, accessories and gifts made of 100 per cent tartan.

"I made my own stationery and favours for my wedding and really enjoyed it. I always though about turning it into a businessa nd when it was not possible for me to return to work part-time after having my daughter I decided to take the plunge," she said.

"I love being able to create bespoke pieces and working with customers to develop something they will cherish for a long time."

 Kerry found out about the PTYBS programme while attending some courses with Business Gateway and decided to approach it for funding to start her business.

As well as financial support from the BT Scotland Young E-ntrepreneurs Scheme, Kerry also receives support from her business mentor and other Youth Business Scotland staff in the Highlands.

Kerry said: "The support I have from BT and the Prince's Trust is a huge help. I meet with my business mentor every few months to bounce ideas around and seek advice. I know the Prince's Trust is always there to turn to when I need support."

Kerry's business is growing steadliy and she has been taking on more commissioned pieces of work and attending wedding fairs to promte her business and sell her designs.

She added: "Most of the event I attend are in the Highlands, it would be great to reach out to other areas in Scotland and hopefully expand my business across the UK and hopefully overseas too."

Through start-up funding and mentoring support, the PTYBS supports young people aged 18 to 30 years old to set up and continue in business. Working in partnership with BT Scotland, the Young E-ntrepreneur Awards support young people to develop online tools to help grow their business.

In the last 12 years, BT Scotland has invested around £570,000 in the programme, helping more than 170 young people to start up in business.

James McClafferty, partnership director at BT Scotland, said: "Our E-ntrepreneur scheme gives a helping hand to fledgling businesses of all kinds and really shows off the divers skills possessed by young Scots.

"It's great to see Tartan at Heart benefiting and flourishing from our support. In such a short space of time Kerry has shown how an interest and hard work, coupled with the right support and encouragement, can lead to a viable and successful career path."