Working mum encourages others to start their own business

22 October 2012


A woman who started her own business to balance being a mum with having a career is urging others to do the same.

After her previous employers refused to consider the option of her working flexible hours, Mel Fenna was spurred on to launch her own design and marketing agency in Barnsley.

And now Mel, who has been helped by the Genesis business support programme, is advising other mums to find out more by going to an open day.

Mel has years of experience working for leading UK marketing agencies and has managed accounts for well-known clients such as Casio, Habitat, Taylor Wimpey Homes and Morphy Richards. But when her baby girl, Maisie, was born 15 months ago, her career hit what she calls a ‘crisis point’.

“My requests to manage my working hours more flexibly – still ensuring I give full commitment to my clients – hit a brick wall,” said Mel. “They wouldn’t entertain the idea – and I do think it was short-sighted.

“I make no secret that I am a Mum first, but I have always enjoyed my work and I am ambitious and committed to delivering results.”

Mel has now successfully been selected as a creative ‘partner’ with the Creative Network, a national agency which works with independent account managers across the UK. Similar to a franchise, the arrangement means Mel owns and manages the accounts of clients based in her patch, West Yorkshire, but has the resources of a national full service design agency behind her. She already has three or four potential clients on her books.

Mel’s creative venture is being supported via the Genesis business programme, which is part-funded by Enterprising Barnsley. Genesis helps businesses with growth potential in the first year or two of their life offering intensive business coaching support, technical assistance and business development workshops. Mel has been given office space in the shared ‘Genesis suite’ for new businesses at Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre (BBIC), Wilthorpe - just a couple of miles from her home off Doncaster Road, in Barnsley.

Mel, aged 31, said: “I’m really pleased I made the call to find out more about Genesis. I’ve always liked the idea of working for myself, but was a bit scared of getting tied in knots with all the paperwork and financial matters.

“Genesis has given me the confidence to go for it. I am now excited about running my own business and seeing it grow.  And I really think others should give it a go. ”

Anyone thinking of setting up their own business, or who has recently started one, is invited to the Open Day at BBIC on Tuesday November 13th, 10am – 4pm. Expert business advisors will be on hand to talk through people’s ideas and explain more about the support available via Genesis and also SmartStart - a programme of free workshops for people just starting to think about working for themselves. For more information and to book a place, visit

Tim Milburn, chief executive of BBIC said: “We are delighted to support Mel’s new business through Genesis. Running your own business can be a great option for anyone with ambition and motivation who’d like to manage their time flexibly around family commitments. Mel was the first woman to join this phase of Genesis, which was launched in April this year, and we’d love to meet more at our Open Day.”

Genesis and SmartStart are part-funded by the Enterprising Barnsley programme which is supported financially by the European Union. The Enterprising Barnsley project has attracted £2,259,511 investment into Barnsley from the European Regional Development Fund as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development, through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme.


Attached picture:  Mel Fenna at her desk in the Genesis suite at Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre (BBIC).

For further about this story, contact Mel Fenna on 07538 330885.

For information about Genesis and the next BBIC Open Day on November 13th, contact Tim Milburn at or on 01226 249590.

The Enterprising Barnsley programme is a partnership between Barnsley Development Agency (BDA) and Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre (BBIC).

The Enterprising Barnsley programme is part financed by the Yorkshire and Humber European Regional Development Fund Programme 2007 to 2013. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund Programme, which is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs. For more information visit

For more information about Enterprising Barnsley go to or contact Martin Beasley on 01226 772648 or at

Additional media contact: Steph Pollard on 01226 766900 / 0776 196 4492 or or Kate Betts on

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