Turning Redundancy Money Into Childhood Dream

Galactic ModelsWhat started out as a childhood hobby building and crafting model toys has now become a full time career for 41-year-old entrepreneur Mark Meredith.

Selling everything from niche model railway sets to unique board games, Galactic Models is the creative Derby toy shop in which owner Mark is following his business dream.

Needing help to start his business, Mark received a £10,000 loan from First Enterprise, a not-for-profit organisation which provides loans and free business advice to start-ups and existing businesses from all backgrounds and sectors across the East Midlands.

Mark said: “I started making models when I was seven and since then I have done OO and N-gauge layouts and plastic kits in all scales, mainly sci-fi.

“It is not only a job for me, it is a passion. I had been wanting to go solo for a while and the time just felt right.”

With 18 years of experience working in model hobby stores and after being made redundant Mark decided to set up his own store. Galactic Models opened its doors in Derby’s Stand Arcade in April 2014, part of the city’s Cathedral Quarter.

Galactic Models www.galactic-models.co.uk stocks everything from model railways, car and airplane kits to card and board games. The store even has its own games room where customers can make models or set up games at their leisure with competitions held most weekends.

Mark added: “Being made redundant helped to put things into perspective but without the First Enterprise loan and all the help and advice they gave me I never would have pushed myself.

“The funding I received enabled me to open up my own shop. The loan, along with my redundancy money, was put towards all the start-up costs of the business such as legal fees and rental costs. Without the support it never would have happened.”

Neil Millington, loan fund manager at First Enterprise, said that more needs to be done to help start-ups access the funding they need. He said: “It was clear that Mark had a great business plan and the drive to follow his dreams. We are here to help other entrepreneurs or existing businesses that need financial support.

“This year is set to be a strong one for the number of new start-ups and we want people to know that if they have a business which could benefit from loan funding then they should come to us.”

As well as providing loan funding First Enterprise also offers free and impartial business advice. www.first-enterprise.co.uk