A Sunderland-based entrepreneur is celebrating success after delivering a five-fold increase in turnover for her tutoring business in just two years, with the help of TEDCO Business Support.

MagiKats, started by Kathryn Mellett from Sunderland was launched in November 2016 as a franchise business offering tutoring support to children from age 4 up to GCSE Level in both Maths and English.

Kathryn Mellett comments: “When I first started MagiKats, I expected my work to be focused on supporting older children undertaking GCSE examinations and in need of some additional support to build confidence. However, I realised quite early on that parents are looking to support children across every key stage at school and quickly expanded our service to offer tutoring for pupils aged from four up to 18 years old.

 

“Accessing tutors was once seen as something for wealthier parents but given my education and teaching experience, I wanted to open up this service in a way that could benefit children from a range of backgrounds who needed that little bit of extra help outside of their normal classroom.

“MagiKats fuses together quality tutor-led instruction with small group learning to make the workshops less intimidating for the pupils and more accessible to all parents from a financial perspective.”

MagiKats Sunderland has grown from a small church hall in Sunderland to having permanent premises at Sunderland BIC, employing six part-time tutors who deliver workshops in venues across the south of the city.

Joining forces with Joseph Hodson, the MagiKats franchise owner in Gateshead, the pair have been able to work together to implement plans to share business premises and marketing resource to develop MagiKats North East and help broaden the appeal of the service. Across the region MagiKats has already worked with over 100 young people to help them build their skills and confidence in English and maths.

Kathryn continues: “I originally worked with TEDCO Business Support to access a Virgin StartUp loan with help from business advisor, Mark Johnston. Initially, I wanted the loan to help me to purchase the franchise and set up MagiKats Tuition in Sunderland but the business support offered by Mark has proven to be incredibly useful throughout the last two years across so many different areas of the business.”

Virign Startup is the not-for-profit organisation set up in 2013 to offer low-cost business loans to new businesses and is exclusively delivered in the North East by TEDCO Business Support.

Kathryn continues: “Mark was my guide throughout the application process as I prepared the final business plan for submission to Virgin StartUp. With the £5,000 loan in place, I was able to push forward with my plans whilst retaining the support of Mark. He has been a stable and supportive indvidual to turn to whenever I’ve had questions over the last two years and his unobtrusive manner has allowed me to focus completely on how I want to move forward with the business.”

Kathryn and Joseph are now looking ahead to a successful future expanding MagiKats Tuition to service the growing demand for tutor-led education support throughout Sunderland and across the North East.

Mark Johnston, TEDCO business advisor comments: “I have now worked with Kathryn for two years following her initial approach to look into the opportunities offered by Virgin StartUp and it has been a pleasure to watch how her business has flourished during this time. She is focused, driven and genuinely passionate about the service she offers and I am confident that MagiKats will continue to be a success.”

Success Stories

“With the Virgin StartUp loan in place to fund the renovations and equipment, I am now absolutely delighted to be able to start welcoming the first visitors to Inclusion Archery. I hope it provides a new facility for budding archers to give the sport a try.”

Steve Ward - Archer, Entrepreneur

“TEDCO helped me strengthen and tighten up my ideas into a robust business plan. They remained a positive voice throughout. Their support gave me the confidence that I needed to push on, secure the vital funding through Virgin StartUp and turn my dreams into reality.”

Simon Laing - Cullercoats Bike & Kayak, Entrepreneur

What we offer

TEDCO offers one-on-one support provided by a dedicated team of business advisors and a range of pre start seminars available to clients who are taking the first steps into self-employment. This could be looking at an initial idea and developing it further, looking at how to start a business plan, business competitors, business marketing.

Are you eligible?

Business owners must be at least 18 years old

Business owners must have a developed, clear business idea

Businesses must be UK based

Business owners must be UK residents

Businesses must have been trading for less than 2 years

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North East Business & Innovation Centre, Wearfield, Enterprise Park East, Sunderland,
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