Jennifer offers inspiration for growing business owners

The Fylde entrepreneur behind a fast-growing children’s trainer brand Skribbies has been signed up by Boost Business Lancashire to inspire other budding business owners.

Jennifer Duthie, who launched Skribbies last year and has already seen her product attract interest in the UK and overseas, has been recruited as an ambassador for Boost – the county’s £7.2m business growth hub.

As part of the role, Jennifer will help to promote Boost to other growing businesses across the region. Boost aims to grow the county’s economy by £20m, create at least 1,200 new jobs and safeguard 700 more by 2015.

Jennifer is the ideal candidate to champion the service having accessed free support through the Lancashire LEAP start up programme, which is run by Regenerate Pennine Lancashire and Winning Pitch as part of Boost Business Lancashire.

She said: "The support I’ve received has been incredible. It’s really honed my focus on critical aspects of my business particularly in the financial and legal areas. Since going through the Lancashire LEAP programme, the business has really taken off and there has been an overwhelming amount of interest in the product. I’m really pleased to be able to promote Boost to other businesses in a similar position.”

Jennifer accessed free boot camps which provided her with essential knowledge required to run a new business, including sessions on how to access finance and plan ahead for growth. She also received free business coaching, a mentor and accessed partial finance for Skribbies.

The Skribbies shoes have a special surface which can be customised with magic pens and stickers. Children can wipe off the designs and create new ones as often as they like. The young entrepreneur has been meeting several national retailers since completing the boost programme and aims to be stocked by all the major retailers in the UK by the end of 2014. There has also been exciting international interest in the product. The brand is designing a range of footwear for a large chain of stores in Europe and has signed a distribution agreement with a firm in the Czech Republic. Andy Walker, head of business growth and innovation at Lancashire County Council, said: “Jennifer has a great story to tell and because she recently benefited directly from Boost business support she is perfectly placed to promote the benefits to other growing business owners.”