Michael McMeekin

Member Article

Sparks are flying in Newcastle?s West End

Following the success of Business Sparks 2011, young entrepreneurs in Newcastle are being inspired to come up with their own business ideas following the achievements of Robi Haque from Grainger Park, Newcastle.

20 year old Robi signed up to Business Sparks as he wanted to develop his own business idea offering specialist photography services for weddings, events and family portraits.

“I joined Business Sparks as I had a business idea in mind but just did not know the right way to go about setting up. Business Sparks and the team really helped me to look at what I needed to do and how to put my business plan together, so I would be ready to go into the marketplace.”

“The support I received helped me develop the legal side of the business and there was interactive seminars on tax and VAT that explained everything so well, allowing me to ask any questions. And, I was so pleased to be awarded a Business Sparks grant earlier this year, which was really helpful with my start-up costs.”

Just twelve months later, Robi has already taken the next step and secured studio premises in Newcastle from where he now runs Haque Photography. And, all this whilst he’s been studying for his Business and IT degree at University of Northumbria.

Reviving the Heart of the West End Ltd’s (RHWE) Development Officer Hannah Morrow said “Robi’s achievement has been fantastic and he has worked so hard to combine setting up the business and studying for his degree. We are delighted that Business Sparks has given him the support and information he needed to just get started.”

“Business Sparks works with young people who have a business start-up idea or the aspiration to work for themselves but just don’t know where to begin. Each ‘Spark’ benefits from 1-2-1 business advice, seminars led by local entrepreneurs, office space and resources at John Buddle Work Village, showcasing opportunities at events and workshops on how to develop a business plan.”

“As well as Robi’s success story we are proud to have supported 4 other young people into self-employment and others into further and higher education through our first programme.”

New for 2012, our Business Sparks will be able to work alongside a business mentor, many of whom are running their own businesses and are keen to support our Business Sparks on their start-up journey.

Business mentor, Michael McMeekin of Arrow Sales said: “I got involved last year and found that the calibre and enthusiasm of the young mentors was excellent. It was a pleasure to work alongside them and I am looking forward to once again helping some of them achieve further success.”

With high rates of youth unemployment recognised in our region, this initiative looks to explore alternatives and create a flexible environment to allow entrepreneurial spirit and creativity to flourish. Inviting 16-24 year olds that live, work or study in the West End, the free programme seeks to provide guidance, support, facilities and funding to young business enterprises.

Business Sparks is delivered by a partnership between local charity RHWE and Community Interest Company Solar Learning. This year’s programme has been able to go ahead thanks to RHWE and support of a grant from The Community Foundation serving Northumberland and Tyne and Wear.

We are still welcoming applications for Business Sparks 2012 which is due to start in November. If you would like to register a place or are interested in finding out more about the organisations involved please call 0191 226 7300, or email

Reviving the Heart of the West End, John Buddle Work Village, Buddle Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE4 8AW

Tel: 0191 226 7300 Website:

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Michael McMeekin .

Enjoy the read? Get Bdaily delivered.

Sign up to receive our popular North East morning email for free.

* Occasional offers & updates from selected Bdaily partners

Our Partners

Top Ten Most Read