We can all learn from the young Leeds entrepreneurs finding success in the pandemic - YEP Opinion

It’s been a turbulent year for Leeds businesses who have been in and out of lockdowns, thwarting expansion plans and leaving a huge economic burden.

Sunday, 2nd May 2021, 6:00 am
Chef Molly Payne put Leeds families at the core of her new business - and it’s paid off

Jobs have been lost, wages cut and opportunities few and far between.

But some young entrepreneurs have found astounding success despite the challenges of starting a business during a pandemic.

Halton chef Molly Payne was left at “rock bottom” in March 2020 when she lost her job.

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Fashion influencer Hannah Briggs has used her own struggles to uplift other women with body-positive, motivational content

An established chef used to working 90 hours a week, the 24-year-old was left questioning her entire career.

With the push of family and friends, Molly set up a home delivery service with her partner Charlotte and has been inundated with orders.

Using locally-sourced ingredients, Molly put Leeds families at the core of her new business - and it’s paid off.

Fashion influencer Hannah Briggs struggled with her mental health when the pandemic hit.

The 26-year-old has used her own experiences to uplift other women with body-positive, motivational content.

She’s doubled her Instagram following in a year and got the chance to work with top brands, drawing in a new audience of people looking for some much-needed positivity on their social media feeds.

The entrepreneurial spirit of these two young women should be an inspiration to us all.

Using their personal struggles as a catalyst for success, their honesty and passion for what they do has resonated with people in Leeds.

Waking up at the crack of dawn, Molly forages for her ingredients and starts preparing dishes, while Hannah engages with her followers and pre-plans content while juggling a full-time job.

Turning a small idea into a business takes determination and grit.

What sets these women apart is their unwavering enthusiasm for what they do; they’ve found their niche and taken it beyond a hobby.

At the heart of their businesses is the desire to make other people happy. They’re lifting others up at a time when we all need it the most.

As we come out of what is hopefully the last lockdown, connecting with others is what’s going to help us rebuild confidence and build up our economy.

Independent businesses are putting rivalries aside to work together; recommending their neighbours to customers, promoting their offers on social media and sharing outdoor spaces.

Hannah’s advice for others looking to start up a business doing what they love?

“Just go for it,” she said.

“Taking it beyond a hobby takes a lot of effort and you have to plan your time, but it can be so rewarding.”

Molly added: “We can show people that it is possible.”

Their businesses are flourishing and constantly adapting to the twists and turns of the last year.

We can all learn from Molly and Hannah’s courage and perseverance.

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