Spark Ups Blazing a Trail!

October 21

Two of our entrepreneurs have been shortlisted for a regional business award proving they have what it takes to make it big.

Ronnie Joughin of Alternative Hearses and Yvonne Bennett who owns Wedding Planners Guild, will go head to head in the Best New Business category at the inaugural feration of Small Business awards, along with other promising Liverpool start-ups next month.

The awards recognise the innovative and progressive businesses which are based in the city region. Small businesses account for 99% of businesses in the UK and have a critical role to play in building sustainable regional economies. Latest figures show that the number of new businesses in Liverpool has grown by around 20% in the last decade.

Maghull-based Ronnie Joughin, set up his business Alternative Hearses in 2013, which hires out blue or red hearses to undertakers, allowing football fans to go to their final resting place in the colours of their favourite team.

The 49 year-old Liverpool fan, got the idea when a funeral cortege for a young red’s supporter passed by his taxi and realised that there was a gap in the market for coloured hearses, which would offer an alternative option for football fans in the city.

Since he started with the Spark Up programme earlier this year, Ronnie developed his business idea, sought investment to secure two coloured hearses – one in red the other in blue – and has also received support from Another Level.

He said: “To be shortlisted in this category is a wonderful achievement, considering Alternative Hearses has been in operation for less than two years. We are the first company in Liverpool and I believe the UK to offer luxury coloured hearses, as an alternative to the traditional black vehicles.

Similarly, Yvonne Bennet joined Spark Up to help take her wedding planning training business Wedding Planners Guild UK to the next level, helping increase awareness of her brand and maximises numbers on her nationally recognised training course. The 46 year old from Liverpool City Centre, started operating in July 2015.

She said: “Being shortlisted in the FSB awards for Best New Business, will be a tremendous boost to my business, offering recognition from one of the leading industry bodies for small businesses. I am delighted to have been considered for this, joining some wonderful businesses which operate out of Liverpool.”

Spark Up founder Jenny Stewart said: “How exciting is it to hear that just two weeks after launching not one but two of our entrepreneurs have been shortlisted at the FSB awards?

“Both Ronnie and Yvonne are shining examples of the entrepreneurial talent that exists in Liverpool and I wish them both the best of luck in the awards.”

The Federation of Small Business Liverpool City Region awards ceremony will be held on November 5th at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Liverpool. 

Applications for Spark Up's fourth programme starting in January 2016 are now open and applications can be made here. 




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