The Enterprise programme helped Ellie, 22 from Sandwell, rebuild her confidence and give her focus to grow her business in educating children about animal care and welfare, a cause close to her heart.
Ellie’s business story begins years before she started her business. It was when she met Roary – and found a reason to get up every day.
After her grandfather’s sudden death the year prior, Ellie had struggled with an eating disorder, problems at school and a hospitalisation. Her mum hoped that the responsibility of an animal might help her focus and recover, which is how Roary, a baby rabbit, came into her life. That’s how Ellie realised, through nurturing her rabbit, that she had neglected herself.
The origin of an idea had been planted, but it didn’t take hold right away. Another traumatic experience led to long-term mental health struggles, a criminal record and therapy. But then, in January 2020, Ellie decided to sign up for the Enterprise programme. She knew she wanted to start her own business around her love for animals and felt that concentrating on doing something she loved would help her recovery.
Ellie benefitted straight away from meeting her Enterprise Executive Alice Granger: “Alice cared genuinely for my wellbeing, always understood me and always tried her best to help me in every direction.” With Alice’s support, Ellie put together financial forecasts and successfully launched her business: Blossoms Mobile Petting Farm and Workshops.
Ellie visits children’s parties, schools and care homes, to provide educational talks and comfort sessions for children and adults with learning difficulties. She brings animals, such as rabbits, chinchillas, snakes and lizards. She also runs children’s activity clubs in community centres, where children can get involved with fun activities whilst being educated on animal care and welfare. Participants are presented with certificates at the end of the session.
In August 2020 Ellie attended the Prince’s Trust Business Launch Group, where she was awarded a start-up loan of £3000 and was matched with her Volunteer Business Mentor, Gordon Shipley. Ellie says, “Gordon is an amazing mentor and has watched the business grow, helping me cope through the Covid pandemic and picking me up when I was low.”
Ellie’s business is going from strength to strength, surviving through the Covid pandemic and lockdown. She has done interviews with BBC radio, and national newspapers and magazines such as Cosmopolitan, where she spoke about women in business. In October 2021, she was also selected to go to London and have tea with the Duchess of Cornwall, as part of The Brilliant Breakfast.
Ellie now feels that her dreams have become a reality. She has gained confidence and feels she has been on a journey of finding herself, with The Prince’s Trust playing a big part in helping her get to where she is today. Through her experiences, she has met so many different people and had so many positive experiences, she feels she has grown as a person. In Ellie’s own words: “My business has saved my life.”
Ellie is in the process of becoming an official Young Ambassador for The Prince’s Trust.