Sarah Lavery, 26 from Newtownabbey, dreamt of starting a business that would allow every child to be invited to a birthday party regardless of their needs or abilities. She has family members with autism and recognised that some children need a quieter space to be available for them to enjoy a party. 

When she was made redundant from her full-time job, Sarah was left with no way to support herself and mounting credit card debt. She decided this was the time to see if her business idea could become a reality and got in touch with The Prince’s Trust about their Enterprise programme.

During the three-day course Sarah developed a business plan, was matched with a mentor and was offered a loan to help her set up her business.
Just weeks after finishing the programme she found the perfect premises and opened for business. 

Sarah said: “Dudes and Divas Entertainment is a unique children’s party venue themed like an enchanted garden with princesses, superheroes, fairies and pirates. Snow machines, bubbles and candyfloss machines add to the magic while a sensory room, wheelchair access and a disabled toilet mean that everyone is able to join the party. 

The Enterprise programme gave me the confidence that my idea was viable and more than just a dream. I’m now debt free, and in the past 12 months we have employed three part time members of staff and expanded into an additional building onsite.

Sarah was nominated for the Enterprise Award at The Prince’s Trust Awards in Northern Ireland by her mentor Rosemary Morrison who runs her own consultancy and training business, Directus NI. 

Rosemary was delighted when she heard Sarah had won, she said: “It was my absolute pleasure to nominate Sarah. She is an ambitious and extremely hard-working young businesswoman who I am delighted to have worked with and am proud to know. I think what she has achieved at such a young age in just incredible!”