How budding entrepreneurs started their dream businesses during the pandemic

A business support organisation has hailed the success of the people it has backed during the coronavirus crisis.

Thursday, 6th May 2021, 10:27 am
From lefty, Amy Speckman (Sweetie Treats), Denise Fielding (EDBS), Andrew Rogers (Rogers and Rogers), Hina Joshi (EDBS, seated), Leanne Fawcett (LEC Communications and Design) and Melissa Pigford (Material Mel Creations).

In the 13 months since the first lockdown, East Durham Business Service (EDBS) – based in Peterlee – has helped a number of budding entrepreneurs strike out on their own, welcomed new firms into its Novus Business Centre and helped existing tenant companies grow.

One new addition to the centre is e-commerce specialist Rogers and Rogers, which works with online retailers to grow their digital presence and increase sales online.

The company was launched by husband-and-wife Andrew and Kimberley Rogers in 2017 and moved into the centre after outgrowing their home office.

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Andrew said: “We knew about Novus Business Centre and felt the facility was the perfect environment for us to grow.”

The first few months of 2021, most of which were spent in lockdown, have also proved fruitful for long-term tenant LEC Communications and Design, which moved into the centre in 2013.

Owner Leanne Fawcett said: “After what was undoubtedly a challenging 2020, I’m delighted to say the first four months of this year have been really good for us, with several new businesses coming on board.”

EDS has also helped several budding entrepreneurs launch their own businesses during the pandemic, including Peterlee mum of two Aiysha Homer, who founded Dreadsrock, Amy Speckman, from Murton, who set up Sweetie Treats, and Melissa Pigford, who has launched Material Mel Creations, which makes eco-friendly bags.

Melissa, 30, said: "I’ve always had a feeling I’d end up starting my own creative business and my adviser, Hina Joshi, was great, working with me to develop a business plan so I was properly prepared when I did launch.”

The new-start support offered by EDBSD is through the Enterprise Support in the North East programme through the European Regional Development Fund.

Denise Fielding, operations director at East Durham Business Service, said: “It’s been a tough 12 months for the business community, but there are some real positives to take from it too.

“We have been able to support existing tenants to grow, welcomed new companies and we’ve helped budding entrepreneurs realise their dreams of starting their own businesses.”

Further details are available online at or by telephoning (0191) 5863366.