Becky Kiil was not born and bred in Newcastle but she is one of the city's biggest fans. She loves our town so much that she started a business which offers guided walking tours to tourists and locals alike. Becky can show you all manner of things you do not know about our fabulous city. On her Newcastle Afoot walking tours you can visit places you have never seen, hear stories of our past and meet local business people over a beer or a coffee.
"I introduce people to Newcastle through small guided walking tours - so tourists and locals. I also run grassroots local experiences where I connect people to local business owners and introduce them to creatives.
Becky had the seed of a business idea but did not know where to start.
"I was pretty motivated by the idea but I had no idea how to take the first steps to actually get started."
Enter the Business Centre, a not-for-profit with over 34 years experience supporting small and medium businesses at any stage of their business journey. Becky took advantage of the free and heavily subsidised business advisory services, courses and workshops we offer to learn all she needed to know to set up and succeed.
"At the Business Centre I did some courses that helped me to understand my business plan and to actually write up a business plan.
"I learnt about budgeting and finance but also the core of marketing and that I really needed to be targeting my products towards certain markets."
Becky learnt a lot from the workshops and courses she undertook but she saw even more value in the personal business advisory services and mentoring from the Business Centre's Business Advisors.
"I got one-to-one mentoring which was pretty amazing to help me really problem solve. I needed to bounce ideas of people so I got support from advisors.
"I've had a couple of Business Advisors through the Business Centre and they have been amazing at not just the actual real systemic advice and helping me to understand my legal requirements and all that sort of stuff around business but they also been really goods supports for me personally and talking through problems.
"I've made some great friends with other business owners through this course and we check in with each other online and in person. We have coffee and talk about how our businesses are going and it has been really great to have those networks of support.
Becky is confident in her role as a business owner and is thankful for the support she received from the Business Centre and how she has parlayed that into a successful business.
"I don't think I would have started a business if I did not know those options were there."
"If you're starting a business and you're not sure on compliance requirements or the financial language or marketing and targeting I would really recommend the Business Centre to help you out with that. They can provide courses but also advisers and mentoring that can help you problem solve and there is a real asset in that. It has really helped me to feel confident to actually start my business.
Stories from local people who have partnered with us to improve their business