Braes mum sets up business after redundancy

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A Braes mum-of-two has turned being made redundant into an opportunity to become her own boss.

Alison Harkins took the plunge towards the end of her maternity leave.

With over 17 years of experience working as a full-time graphic designer across the public and private sectors, the 42-year-old decided to use her skillset to launch Limelite Creative.

After gaining advice from Business Gateway Falkirk, Alison from Redding, has not only secured work, she has been added to the preferred supplier list of her former employer – the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

She said: “If anyone had said to me this time last year that I’d have my own business and be working with a big client in 
Dubai and doing freelance work with my previous employer I’d never have believed them.

“I’d applied for voluntary redundancy during my maternity leave but getting the letter to say it had been accepted was unexpected, however, I saw it as a chance to set up a business I could operate around my children as I’d already been worrying about how flexible work was going to be.”

Business Gateway provided workshops and she was encouraged to apply for the New Enterprise Scheme which provides her with a mentor for 12 months and funding.

Andrea Bradley-Priest, Business Gateway Falkirk, said: “Redundancy can seem a daunting option but for many people it provides an opportunity to do something they would never have considered before.”

Using social media and joining various Facebook groups has helped Alison build her client base to include both small and established businesses in central Scotland, as well as new business start-ups, in-house design teams, and design agencies.

Through her LinkedIn page she secured her biggest piece of work to date, creating a logo, corporate stationery, flyers, an e-book, presentation material, icons, graphics, and infographics for a new business venture launched last month by Steve Ashby, a Dubai-based entrepreneur with over 40 years’ experience in business.

Alison said: “I knew that going into business on my own meant I needed to get on top of social media and Business Gateway gave me a good insight into what I needed to do, as it really is a minefield. Steve had viewed my LinkedIn profile, saw my strapline and my commercial experience and skills and asked me to work with him on his new venture, Businessmentals, an online resource and community for freelance workers across the globe. It was an amazing experience which has resulted in more work already this year - producing a weekly newsletter for his business.”

For more information on Limelite Creative visit

To find out how Business Gateway Falkirk, which is based in The Falkirk Stadium, Stadium Way, can help your business visit or call 01324 808266.