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Dawn Watson

Dawn Watson

The Bickland Cafe

I couldn’t have done any of this without Outset Cornwall; knowing someone was only a phone call away was a massive boost and I wouldn’t be where I am now without their help, encouragement and support.

Dawn’s story

Sourcing capital to finance a new business can often prove tricky, with many institutions offering excessive interest rates or proving unwilling to lend to start-ups. Fortunately, a personal loan from Outset Finance, combined with support from Outset Cornwall, means more entrepreneurs can access the money they need to turn their business dreams into reality.

When Dawn Watson had an accident at work that left her suffering with a painful back injury and severe depression, she knew she would be unable to work for some time and that returning to work for an employer would be extremely difficult.

After spending almost six months in recovery, Dawn decided to start her own business focused around her passion for catering and, after consulting her local MP on available support, contacted Outset Cornwall.

“I’ve always been involved with food and spent nearly 32 years in the catering industry, running my own businesses and in various other roles,” says Dawn. “I absolutely love it! It’s the first thing I think of in the morning, and now I had an opportunity to get back to doing something I loved.”

Developing her business plan and cash flow forecast using the market research, finance and promotion knowledge she gained through attending the Introduction to Enterprise and Business Start Up sessions, Dawn knew she needed capital to fund her new venture. With advice and support from the Outset Cornwall team, Dawn applied for a government-backed Start Up Loan from Outset Finance.

Dawn says: “Even though I have lots of experience in running my own business, I really got a lot out of the Outset programme. It filled the gaps in my knowledge, taught me lots of new skills and showed me how to write a good business plan, which helped me get the capital I needed to start my business.”

With her application approved, Dawn used the loan from Outset Finance to refurbish her new premises on the Bickland Industrial Estate in Falmouth, launching The Bickland Café, with daughter and business partner Laura, in August 2014.

Offering freshly prepared, good quality affordable food that can be eaten in, taken away or delivered to customers, Dawn has established good links with other businesses on the estate, employed two members of staff and is already working on plans to open another outlet close to Truro within two years.

“Going into business is not an easy thing to do, and I’m not the type of person who finds it easy to ask for help,” says Dawn. “I couldn’t have done any of this without Outset Cornwall; knowing someone was only a phone call away was a massive boost and I wouldn’t be where I am now without their help, encouragement and support.”