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Start up success for graduate entrepreneur

9th August 2023

Mother of one Georgia Greenhow, who studied on the entrepreneurship programme at Northumbria University, has transformed her dream into reality after opening up her own beauty salon business.

GeeGee Beauty, based in Morecambe and ranked top 10 in the district by The UK Hair and Beauty Awards, offers a wide range of beauty services including lash extensions, SPMU lip blush, BIAB nails, makeup, brow wax and facials.

Georgia opened her salon in 2021 after securing £1,000 in funding from the Willan Charitable Trust while studying on the entrepreneurship programme at Northumbria University. During the first year of business, turnover for the salon reached £28,000 and with recent rapid growth, Georgia expects to hit just under £50,000 by the end of this year.

To meet the salon's increasing demand, Georgia has now recruited four members of staff who can work from her premises on a self-employed basis. 

She said: “My business venture began in my first year of university when I was initially studying a humanities foundation course. I used to do makeup and nails for people who were living in my student accommodation for next to nothing and everyone loved it. In the beginning it was quick money which was ideal during my time as a student.

“After deciding the humanities course wasn’t for me, I signed onto the entrepreneurship programme at Northumbria and that’s where everything took off. I have a strong passion for beauty and I’m also very business-driven, and although a lot of hard work has gone in behind the scenes, I wouldn’t change it for the world. I was lucky enough to be rewarded a £1,000 grant from the Willan Charitable Trust which really helped get my salon up and running.”

Georgia graduated from Northumbria’s entrepreneurship programme last month. So far the programme has supported almost 200 students who have created over 150 businesses. This year’s graduates alone have created 32 businesses over the three-year programme, with 11 of those carrying on after graduating. In their final year, these students turned over £150,000.

Northumbria has now relaunched the programme as the new BA (Hons) Business and Entrepreneurship degree, a one-of-a-kind course designed to offer students the support and skills needed to set up their own businesses. Students on the course also get the opportunity to pitch for grant funding by the Willan Charitable Trust which has already provided £100,000 of support for students and graduates like Georgia over the last five  years.

Georgia said: “The set up of the course allowed me to build personal connections with both the people studying on it and my tutors. My tutors Kellie and Sam were amazing and offered so much support and guidance right the way up until graduation. I’ve been put through quite a few obstacles these past three years, but they gave me the courage to stick at it and carry on.

“Whilst the course is academic, it’s also very hands on with the main aim of it being to start up your own business and pursue it after graduating. I think that’s what makes the course so unique.

“One piece of advice I’d give to anyone thinking of studying the course is follow your dreams. If you have a vision of where you see yourself in five years don’t be afraid to push yourself, no matter what obstacles you might be challenged with.”

Dr Kellie Forbes-Simpson, Programme Leader at Northumbria University, said: “Georgia’s incredible journey as a student exemplifies determination and resilience. Balancing motherhood, a long commute from the North West and getting her business up and running, Georgia really worked hard and embraced every opportunity the programme offered. We take immense pride in having Georgia as a valued member of our alumni network, serving as a role model for other aspiring women entrepreneurs.”

To find out more about GeeGee Beauty, visit @geegee_beautystudio_ on Instagram.

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