Nicky Gray young entrepreneur's story

 

Where do I start…. aged 20 working in car sales I had a very successful career but once I felt bullied by a manager it was time for a big change.

I started looking at ideas to set up and work for myself but no real idea ticked all the boxes until I took my nephew to a soft play area. I was so let down by this experience every mum will be agreeing at this point but it was dirty, the staff were unhappy and unfriendly, no adults were aloud on the play frame, the food wasn’t nice and I could go on and on. 

At this point I decided this was the way forward for me so I decided to risk my first house, risk family inheritance and just GO for it! In 2006 I set up Kiki’s Kabin , in North Shields which now over five years on is a multi award winning soft play area and cafe. I employ 20 members of staff and see around 1000 families per week, and the most important thing is I still love it and I am as passionate about it as I was when I set it up.

So five years on and after been inspired again by my other nephew Ryan who is Autistic and could not get a haircut anywhere I set up the North East first hair salon dedicated to children, Fidgets in Whitley Bay.

Fidgets is just about to celebrate our second year in business and after setting up in the middle of a recession with a new un tested concept I am still smiling, especially when after six months of trading we were voted best business idea in the North East in the Barclays take one small step competition and won an amazing £50,000 to grow and invest in my business. 

In my second year at Kikis I started to get asked to go into local schools and share my journey and experiences, my first reaction was to laugh as I left school with 4 gcse’s but I can talk about me and my businesses all day long so I agreed.

I soon realised that my journey was inspiring other young people to consider setting up their own business and I got such a buzz knowing I was making a difference to others. It became clear going in to different schools that no one really focused on Enterprise and gave the young people of today the opportunity to learn important life skills. 

As time went on and more school got in touch before I knew it this had turned into a full time job. I recently set up a third business Nicky Gray Enterprise Speaker which involves running enterprise programmes in schools to show students that enterprise is an attitude and with the right life skills anyone can run their own business.  

My school work involves speaking to year groups, running enterprise programmes, Step into enterprise soft skills workshops, Mentoring and working with particular challenging students to increase attendance and grades. Following my school work I am now working in colleges, universities and asked to speak for various enterprise agencies inspiring and motivating others to follow their business dreams.

I get a real buzz that my businesses have created employment for 25 people but I love the fact that I can work with so many young people to inspire them to follow my journey. Enterprise really is an attitude and with more young people believing in them self I know the future is exciting.