My name’s Mickela Hall-Ramsay. I’m the founder and company director at HR Sports Academy. I founded the company when I was 23 years old, so I set the business up as a community interest company (CIC) in 2010, and what HR Sports Academy do is we empower young people through sport, so we use it as a hook to kind of get them in and then really develop their skills, develop friendships, provide a cohesive community which allow young people to be around positive role models. I wanted to start the company because my sister passed away in 2007 and at the time youth crime was really high. I was in my second year at university and even though I was going through this tremendous pain, I couldn’t imagine what families were going through as a result of losing a loved one. After finishing university, I then did a master’s and my mum had set up a company, a community interest company, in memory of my sister and I suppose that inspired me to do something for my community. I got a lot of advice from her obviously but also business links at the time was a very key part in finding out the information that I needed to register and know what the benefits were in terms of having a community interest company as opposed to say going down the route as a charity. One of the reasons why I decided to register as a community interest company is because it allowed me to have that flexibility of applying for grants and also have that financial stability and freedom to actually generate money to help us to develop a sustainable business. I found the registration process with Companies House very easy. It was mainly paper based when I started but I know now everything is online. The email reminders which you get are excellent, because it helps you to remember to send in the documents which are due. I started to realise the business was taking off when we were in high demand, so we had a number of schools asking for our services and a number of children attending our evening and weekend sessions. My responsibilities as a director include producing the accounts, filing our confirmation statement, there’s loads of legal things that I didn’t really know in addition to the day-to-day running of the business, so payroll, managing staff, hiring venues, sorting out insurance etc. I suppose the list is endless. One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced in setting up my business is finding appropriate staff. At the moment, we have an amazing team, because a lot of young people who have come through our system and then wanted to work for us, which has been perfect. But at the beginning, it was trying to find that right person to enable us to develop an organisation which really was delivering that same message to everybody and providing an excellent service. I would also say funding. So a lot of the time when we first started I didn’t pay myself for months, simply because the funding or the money had to be used to ensure other expenses were covered first. The best thing about being my own boss is me being able to be as creative as I want. I love sports and I’ve been involved in sports from a very young age and I love developing programmes for young people. So without having to go to somebody to ask ‘Can I do this?’ and ‘Can I do that?’ and just having that flexibility to just get on with it is amazing. The advice I would give to a young entrepreneur is that it’s really important to research what you’re doing and also to gain experience in the field that you want. I’d also say networking is something you should definitely do. I started a lot later and I kick myself every single day about it, so networking and developing partnerships with people is very very key. It’s important to dream big and work hard. There’s a lot of sayings about working smart – I believe you can work smart but if you work smart and work hard, you’re able to do a lot more.