Bury dress designer is first to scoop UK Start-Up Loan - learn about Elena's journey so far.
Elena Mingas, 24, from Bury was named last week as the very first young person in the country to benefit from the UK Start-Up Loans for Young People, a new government backed scheme to give the next generation of entrepreneurs the finance and support to potentially start over 30,000 new businesses.
Elena launched her Tangle Dress Design business in 2012, aiming to dress individual women for birthdays, proms, races, awards and other special occasions with bespoke designed dresses for around £270.
Elena was awarded the Loan last week at the launch of the UK Start-Up Loans in London, with Start-Up Loans chairman James Caan, from TV’s “Dragons’ Den” and Lord Young of Graffham, Enterprise Advisor to the Prime Minister. The loans for the North West are awarded and delivered by the Business Growth Hub in partnership with Business Finance Solutions and Blue Orchid, giving successful applicants a loan of £2,500 as well as expert mentoring and business support and training
A talented fashion graduate with international design experience, Elena’s love of fashion began at an early age, when she was taught to sew by her grandmother at the age of four. Elena graduated from The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) with a first class honours in Digital Fashion Design, in 2011.
During her studies, Elena was nominated for the Karen Millen Portfolio Award at Graduate Fashion Week and won UCLan's Creative Focus Award (Best in Show). After university, Elena immediately landed a job in Dubai where she headed styling, visual merchandising, buying and illustration/graphics, as well as designing and selling her own garments at one of the glamorous city’s exclusive boutiques.
Elena then launched Tangle Dress Design on 17 September 2012 as a bespoke boutique that would inspire women to look beyond the high-street when shopping for the perfect outfit for birthdays, proms, races, awards and other special occasions. Elena is working with dressmaker Khadija Ingar; an award winning ex-fashion garment tutor with more than 20 years experience in her field.
Located at 67 Rochdale Road, Bury, the first of its kind boutique also offers design and body shape advice, complete consultation services and alterations. Clients can choose from a catalogue of original designs and every Tangle client has the choice to receive a fashion illustration of their special design as an additional contemporary keepsake of their creation.
Elena says: “The Tangle concept is about original design, quality craftsmanship and making unique, tailor made luxury more affordable. I want to provide a modern and design-led approach to dress making for all the women who don’t want to dress the same as everybody else. Being awarded the Start-Up Loan will give me both the capital and the expert business support and mentoring that I need to tap into the huge business potential of this market. I’m already working with my Business Growth Hub mentor to add complementary services and products such as alterations, accessories and beauty treatments and have big plans for promoting and expanding the business in the coming years.”
In addition to the low interest Start-Up loan, Elena also receives personal advice and know how from an expert mentor as well as networking opportunities and marketing support. . Start-Up Loans Chairmen James Caan said: "With a start-up loan, entrepreneurs can really take their passion to create a business. With the access to finance, mentors and a range of exclusive business products, we hope to support a whole wave of young entrepreneurs on their journey to success."
Paul Breen of Business Finance Solutions said: “Elena’s business passion and vision really shone through her application and she has worked incredibly hard already to set her business up and create a long term plan to make it a success. “Elena is a fantastic ambassador for the loans and a great example of how the spirit of enterprise can be given the right backing to start their own business, access government and private sector support, transform their enterprise potential and become a key driver of business growth in the region.”
Under the scheme, young people who want to set up their own businesses receive loans averaging £2,500 as seed capital to get their businesses off the ground. Loans are charged at 3% over the Retail Price Index and have been fixed at 6% for the duration of the pilot. This innovative and competitive scheme hopes to create over 30,000 new businesses over the next three years. The scheme has started off with a £10m pilot this financial year. If successful, the scheme will be bolstered by a further £32.5m and £40m in 2014/15.