“So many young mums don’t work because of low confidence and need more support to work or start their own business.”

Naima Lacerna, 31, from Liverpool, struggled with feelings of isolation during maternity leave where she spent most of her days by herself caring for her daughter. These feelings were exacerbated by the first lockdown in March 2020.

“The pandemic was incredibly hard for me mentally, especially as a single mum. I was worried about going outside and I couldn’t go to a baby group or socialise with other mums. I suffered from anxiety and depression, and I reached a place where I didn’t even feel like myself anymore. I was so overwhelmed and exhausted that I struggled to even make eye contact with people.”

Naima had previously worked in business development, but she worried about her ability to hold down a corporate job with long hours while raising her daughter alone.

“I decided I needed to become self-employed so I could choose my own schedule and be available for my daughter when I needed to be.”

Naima signed up The Prince’s Trust’s Enterprise course to help pursue her new goal of starting a business.

By the time I started with The Prince’s Trust I’d lost a lot of confidence in myself, and I was feeling isolated. It helped to have a course to follow, the structure of it motivated me and gave me a purpose during lockdown. My business mentor also helped gather my thoughts and write my business plans. Having people support me and invest their time into my idea allowed me to build myself back up again.

Naima’s business Closer Consultancy, an agency which responds to the demand for outsourced sales and business development, is now going from strength to strength and taking on international clients and large-scale projects.

“I built my business in the evenings and during my daughter’s nap times during the day. Now, I'm busy with different projects that excite me, I’m ready to achieve great things and have set myself big targets to make it happen!

“I want to let any young or single mums know it is possible to start a business and go for your dreams, even when you don’t have support around you. No matter where you find yourself or how much you think you can’t change your life around, it really is never too late.”