Kerry Harkins, 30, from Evesham, has continuously surprised herself by how business savvy she is since joining our Enterprise programme in 2013.
We talked to Kerry to find out how she prepared for the big event and who her celebrity idol is.
Prince’s Trust (PT): Hi Kerry! How are things?
Kerry Harkins (KH): We’ve recently moved to bigger premises. Changing it from an old leisure centre to a nursery has meant there have been ups and downs, but it’s finally there. The rooms are bigger and more accessible, the garden has had a makeover and we’ve extended the car park. I can’t remember what it used to be like now!
PT: How did it feel to be nominated for an award last year, let alone win it?
KH: It was amazing. I’ll never forget that feeling; it was overwhelming. Winning the award gave me the confidence to believe I can do more.
PT: How did you prepare for the Celebrate Success national finals?
KH: I couldn’t prepare because I honestly didn’t realise there would be so much going on. It was a bit of a shock, but that actually helped my nerves. I’m not normally that talkative in big crowds, but I found the words I needed when I was on stage. It pushed me out of my comfort zone.
PT: Wow! It’d have the opposite effect on us! Who were you most looking forward to meeting?
KH: Simon Cowell! On the Explore Enterprise course I was asked who my idol was and it’s him! Not just from a business perspective; he does so much for young people and he’s a really nice, family orientated person.
PT: This year at Celebrate Success we’re focusing on journeys. What made you start yours?
KH: I’d been familiar with The Prince’s Trust for a long time. When I knew I was interested in setting up my own nursery it was the first organisation that popped into my head. I had a look online and read up on the Enterprise programme.
PT: Have you always been passionate about working with children?
KH: I actually enrolled on a childcare course because I wanted to become a family support worker. I’ve been through lots of tough situations and knew I could use my experiences to help others. I did some work experience at a local nursery and was promoted to manager level quite quickly. Once I learnt more about how the business operated, it motivated me to change direction and work for myself.
PT: What have you learnt about yourself during this process?
KH: I didn’t realise how business minded I am. I’m always thinking ‘how much is this?’ or ‘how can we use that?’ It’s pushed me to take risks – which I enjoy taking. But, I’m still understanding of others. It’s not changed me in that respect. I always try to see other people’s potential.
PT: What advice would you give to others thinking about setting up in business?
KH: Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. I’ve learnt along the way and made plenty, but I don’t regret any of them. Learning the hard way has made me more knowledgeable. You always become a stronger person in the end. What have you got to lose?
PT: Describe Celebrate Success in one sentence.
KH: Celebrate Success is amazing and very emotional.
PT: Lastly, what’s next for you?
KH: I’m currently looking at other premises to allow me to grow the business even more. Watch this space.
Find out more about Kerry and her business, Evesham Day Nursery, by visiting her website: www.eveshamdaynursery.co.uk