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Andrea Yorston – Interior Squirrel

Starting a business at any time is challenging – let alone during a global pandemic.

Yet to Andrea Yorston’s surprise, Covid lockdowns helped her business grow. Interior Squirrel is an award-winning Market-Harborough-based interior designer.

“I started my business in 2020, during the first Covid lockdown, which was actually a time when I had a captive audience,” she explained at the Business Gateway Growth Hub’s recent Survive and Thrive event.

“There was a lot of interest at the time, which meant things initially went really well and Interior Squirrel grew quite quickly.

“I found it actually got harder as lockdowns eased and it’s still quite challenging now.

“The online model suited me at the time and being able to operate solely online gave me time to not only meet clients, but to develop my business as well.

“People prefer in-person meetings again now which can be more time consuming, leaving me less time to focus on the online side of my business and continue developing.”

Andrea has previously accessed support on offer through the LLEP’s Business Gateway Growth Hub to help grow her business.

And one subject area discussed at the recent day-long conference at the Morningside Arena interested her in particular.

“I’m really interested in the internship and apprenticeship options that were discussed at the conference,” she said.

“I already work with DMU so that’s something I’m keen to look at more.

“Using an internship programme or apprenticeship seems a good way to properly test out employing someone.

“I’d like someone to come in and work on my marketing and social media – that would free me up to focus on other areas of the business.

“The schemes talked about seem to come with a good level of support which interests me as well, it’s perhaps not as complicated as it might seem.”

Andrea also endorsed the local business scene and encouraged others to get involved with future Growth Hub events.

She added: “The business community is really active and inclusive in Leicester and Leicestershire, I became involved as I’m in Market Harborough and there’s a really active business community.

“Events like these are so valuable for people like me.”