Mike Odysseas, Managing Director of Odyssey Systems with Kathryn Hardy.
Recognition PR Business Team

Member Article

Established entrepreneur helps new firm undergo expansion Odyssey

An experienced entrepreneur is helping a fledgling business on its journey to sweet success by supporting the firm to branch out into new premises.

Mike Odysseas, who founded telecommunications experts Odyssey Systems more than 25 years ago, is now helping the next generation of Tees Valley entrepreneurs get started by mentoring Kathryn Hardy, who runs Much Ado About Muffins, as she opens her first shop.

Kathryn, who started her gourmet bakery business and cafe from Brunswick Street, Stockton in 2009, was one of the Teesside winners in this year’s Local Business Accelerator competition. As well as the title, Kathryn won a year’s mentoring from Mike, and will go through to the national round of the competition, where she will get a chance to compete for the prize of being mentored by BBC 1 Dragon’s Den personality Deborah Meaden.

Under Mike’s guidance, she is now poised to open her first shop in Hambletonian Yard, which is just off Prince Regent Street in Stockton town centre. She has also recieved help from the Government-backed scheme, led by Mary Portas, which is aiming to revive high streets up and down the country.

As well as Kathryn’s intricately decorated cupcakes and cakepops in a variety of gourmet flavours, including Apple Crumble, Lemon Meringue Pie and Strawberry Shortcake, the new shop will also stock Kathryn’s handmade breads, pastries and pies, as well as goods from North East farm shops.

The shop will be decorated in shabby chic vintage style, using Kathryn’s extensive collection of cake stands and accessories to give it the authentic feel of a master bakers’ patisserie.

Mike has helped Kathryn carefully plan the expansion to ensure that, just like his own business, the firm remains debt-free and in a strong financial position.

Mike is also reinforcing to Kathryn the ethos that good customer service should lie at the heart of every good business.

Mike said: “Enabling firms like Kathryn’s to expand is vital to the economy, if we are to continue along the road to recovery. Odyssey’s business model has always been simple – to ensure the business is debt-free and financially robust, and to prioritise customer service above everything else. I think this model works for all businesses, whether they provide cutting-edge telecommunications services, or beautiful handmade cupcakes.

“Kathryn has built the foundations of a great company, and now the time has come for her to expand and take town centre premises. Based on my own experiences, I am very pleased to be able to offer her help and guidance on growing a business.”

Kathryn said: “Mike has been a brilliant support – he’s given me some very practical and sound business advice, which has proved very useful as my company undergoes this expansion. I’m very excited about the future of Much Ado About Muffins and I can’t wait to open my first shop.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Recognition PR Business Team .

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