Business Start Up Case Study

We run 12 week Business Start Up courses for residents who are looking to start their own businesses. The courses are delivered by Enterprise CUBE and focus on the following skills; creating a brand, creating a business plan, product or service development, marketing, sales and customer relations.

At the end of the course participants will have the skills and knowledge to take the next step. Enterprise Cube and Thames Valley Housing provide on-going support and access to funding to kick-start businesses.

We spoke to Gareth and Mel about a year after they completed the Start Up course:

“Pet Cuddles 101 has grown so much, and is now sustaining us completely. We’ve had to shut down our other businesses to focus all our efforts on Pet Cuddles 101, and it’s really paid off. We’ve just acquired two acres of land which we will develop into a canine pleasure park, which was effectively crowd-funded by our customers. We will hire out the park and this will help supplement our income and cover the cost of main function, which is the day care service.

We are in very high demand, but due to new government legislation are not able to keep more than a certain number of dogs at our home.

It’s really nice to be working with people who have chosen to go down this line of work, and are passionate about animals.

The income from the pleasure park will help us acquire and maintain new day care facilities. We’ve also partnered with Berkshire College of Agriculture, who send us students for work experience. So far we’ve had four students working here. From a business perspective, it’s really nice to be working with people who have chosen to go down this line of work, and are passionate about animals.

Thanks to the grants we received from the Business Start Up course – totaling £1,000 – we’ve also attended a canine first aid course, which we will now be able to offer to our clients. We are getting bigger by the day!

Being a member of the panel for Business Start Up felt like I’ve come full circle with this course. I’ve done a lot of work over the years and as a result I have many contacts in a variety of different fields – so I was able to give something back to the programme.

It’s also nice from the participants’ perspective to see that I’ve been through what they’re going through, and that now I have a sustainable company”.

Watch a short video about Pet Cuddles 101 

TVHA Start-Up Programme from Thames Valley Housing on Vimeo.

We spoke to J, who completed a business start up course in 2017:

Mother & Me


J completed a business start up course in 2018 and started running 2 businesses; an organic children’s clothing business and a doula service, which support mothers through childbirth . Running 2 businesses proved challenging, particularly as the doula business began to grow and J was faced with the difficult decision of what to focus her time and energy on.

Through business coaching provided by MTVH, she reviewed  her business model and business plan and began to focus on growing and expanding her doula business. J’s commitment, business acumen, innovation and drive was so inspiring! She attending a second business start up course to focus on business growth and plans to expand. As a result, J developed her branding by designing her own business logo and launching her very own website, which promotes services in birth preparation, birth support and post natal doula services.

See the link for the website :-

J’s income has now doubled in the last financial year and has been able to develop her services even more, giving her a better work life balance. She even has plans to take on more staff and expand the business further…

…With her increased income, J was able to take her family on their first holiday abroad this summer!

   “I have been a Doula for almost two years now and I am loving every minute! I work with you to develop a relationship in which you feel free to express your fears, concerns and ask questions. This enables me to support your family in the best way, providing comfort and offering reassurance along the way. I am very down to earth and I go with your flow. “Tell me what you need and I will do my best to make it happen”.