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Harriet Kessie

Winning the regional heats for a national ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ competition was just the start for hairdresser Harriet Kessie and her business partner Joseph Cudjoe.

With their business, Harriet Kessie Hair and Nails, just a year old, Harriet’s success fuelled their ambition to establish the first national chain of salons specialising in high quality Afro hairstyling.

According to Joseph, who manages the marketing side of the business: “Harriet’s success gave us the confidence we needed to move to the next stage of growth, but we also acknowledged that we lacked the necessary experience in harriet kessiefinancial procedures such as book-keeping and financial planning.”

As ‘Harriet Kessie Hair and Nails’ was part funded through a grant from Enfield Enterprise Agency (EEA), one of a network of quality business support organisations which delivers London’s pre-start, start-up and micro service, and a loan from the bank, Harriet and Joseph decided to approach the EEA for help again.

A year ago, on the EEA’s advice, they enrolled on ‘Start Up’, an 18 month programme that is part of the ‘Up and Running’ service offer which provides dedicated time each month with Enfield Enterprise Agency business advisers. There are three levels to the ‘Up and Running’ programme, designed to help small businesses right from the planning stage to further development and growth. The first, called ‘Pre-Start’, offers support and advice to those considering starting up their own business. ‘Start-up’ is for businesses which have been trading for up to 24 months and ‘Micro’ is tailored for those who have been trading for over 24 months and have less than five employees.

All three services offer information, advice, guidance, training, specialist services and networking opportunities. They are co-funded by The European Social Fund (ESF) and London Development Agency (LDA).entrepreneur of the year

“The time we spend with our Enfield Enterprise Agency adviser, Barry Walker, is helping us to develop our accounting strategy and establish a firm foundation on which to grow,” points out Joseph. “We are also committed to achieving Investors in People (IiP). Our staff are very important and we want them to feel part of a team as well as acknowledge their role in the success of the business.”

Joseph points out that one of the good things about working with Barry, their EEA adviser, is that they have access to a network of industry experts, but can refer back to him for further discussion and advice.

Harriet and Joseph have also installed a computerised client management system which helps them initiate and track marketing activities, as well as providing an accurate record-keeping system. A recent addition has been the launch of the salon’s website, which allows clients to book appointments by email. Samples of the salon’s work are also available for online viewing.

“The Enfield Enterprise Agency are helping us reach our targets. We can now work towards opening a second salon in London next year,” said Joseph.

Harriet Kessie Hair and Nails is gaining new clients every week as news spreads across North London and further afield of the salon’s quality, but Joseph points out that they are not complacent and work at retaining clients by providing a consistent high level of service which exceeds expectations.

Harriet herself acknowledges that the help they have received from their business advisers has been of great assistance and combined with her drive and ambition the business has grown even quicker than they had expected.

“Our advisers have more business experience than us, and we are keen to learn from them. The future is up to us, but it’s been made easier by Enfield Enterprise Agency.”