Burnley entrepreneur awards mum-of-three top business prize

Lancashire businessman David Walker has teamed up with ex-Apprentice finalist Neil Clough to help a mum of three develop her retail business.

Last week David, managing director of Burnley-based +24 Marketing, sat on a Dragon’s Den style judging panel with Neil and awarded Nicola £10,000 of sales consultancy.

Nicola Kelly, 30, was forced into bankruptcy in her early 20s but battled back to open her business Willow Tree Boutique at the end of 2013. Her furniture upcycling and arts and crafts products are proving popular, but with a self- confessed lack of business skills, Nicola entered the competition to win £10,000 of sales and business support from Neil’s new company NWC Consultancy.

As well as working closely with Neil, Nicola, from Warrington, will be working with David’s Burnley-based company +24 Marketing, in getting the online side of Willow Tree Boutique off the ground. +24 marketing specialises in brand management, web design and online marketing services for clients across a range of sectors. Up until now, Nicola has sold through her store and on Facebook but she has not yet developed an online presence for the business.

“Nicola’s determination and enthusiasm won us all over,” says David. “The shortlisted candidates were all fantastic but Nicola is a stand out star with real talent. As well as benefitting enormously from the business consultancy NWC will provide, she will reach a whole new customer base with an online presence. It’s a very exciting time for her and I’m delighted to be involved.” The NWC competition offered business start-ups the chance to win £10,000-worth of business support. David already works with NWC on the company’s website and online marketing, so last week joined the panel of experts, including Nick Taylor, CEO at the Foundation for Peace, to help decide the winner from the five finalists chosen by Neil.