Downing Street praise for roaring business success
2:02pm Monday 16th September 2013 in News
LION'S DEN: Hayley Thomas with Stephen Crabb MP and business partner and uncle Mike Mathias. (1128543)
THE owner of a children’s play centre in Haverfordwest has been applauded for doing a roaring trade in her first year by Prime Minister David Cameron.
Hayley Thomas set up the Lion’s Den, in Snowdrop Lane, in 2012, with her brother Matthew and uncle Mike Mathias.
After being made redundant, Hayley struggled to find work, but was given a helping hand into running her own business by the government’s New Enterprise Allowance (NEA).
Following a successful first year, Hayley, aged 30, was among guests invited to a reception celebrating British enterprise at Downing Street on September 11.
“I thought it was a joke at first,” said Hayley. “It was so surreal. They chose me, the only one from Pembrokeshire, to speak to people in Downing Street.”
As well as meeting fellow entrepreneur Levi Roots, Hayley also spoke to members of TV’s Dragon‘s Den.
Thousands of new businesses have been created with support from government schemes in the last two years, and Hayley was selected as one of the best examples for the showcase reception at Number 10.
Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb introduced Hayley to the Prime Minister ahead of the event, describing her as “a great Pembrokeshire success story”.
Hayley said the NEA scheme provided her with extra security in the early days of the business.
“To know I’d get that £65 every week, regardless of how busy the centre was, was a real benefit.”
As part of the scheme, Hayley was also assigned a mentor, who was on hand to give advice and information.
“Haverfordwest Job Centre staff were absolutely fantastic, I don’t think they get enough credit. I can’t praise them enough.
“They explained everything and really showed an interest in me and my business.”
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