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After undergoing surgery for severe Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD) in his shoulder, Rolo, a 10-month-old puppy, made a full and speedy recovery with the help of weekly hydrotherapy sessions as post-op treatment, much to the amazement of his owner, Fiona Thompson.

Inspired by Rolo’s recovery, after being made redundant four weeks after returning from maternity leave, Fiona decided to change her career path as an AI Consultant and become a Hydrotherapist for dogs. Acquiring a professional qualification and starting her Dog wellness and Hydrotherapy centre, Hydrohounds, at Edgeley, Stockport, in October 2023.

Last week, she shared her journey with budding entrepreneurs at Venues@Cornerstone on Edward St, Stockport, at GM Business Growth Hub’s “Launchpad into EnterprisingYou”.

“It is not easy to start a new business, especially for a woman in this man’s world, as there is still a stigma against women being taken seriously in the business world, particularly after having a baby,” said Fiona Thompson, the founder of Hydrohounds in Stockport.

“I am grateful for the start-up services offered by the GM Business Growth Hub. These programs have been incredibly supportive since the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey. They helped me to draft a solid business plan and successfully apply for a start-up loan, which was necessary to bring my initial idea to life. It has been amazing throughout the entire process.”   

“Stockport is an excellent location to start a business due to its vibrant community and friendly neighbourhood. Despite being underrated and unnoticed, it possesses untapped potential. As a part of the business community here, I am delighted to have the opportunity to share my experiences with fellow business owners.”

A recent poll conducted by revealed that almost 40% of adults desire to launch their own business but lack the necessary knowledge and resources to do so.

After the impressive turnout for events in Rochdale and Bury, GM Business Growth Hub extended the “Launchpad into EnterprisingYou” event to Stockport, which served as a platform for people who are passionate about a new business idea or have been cultivating a budding start-up to meet like-minded individuals, share experiences of their business journey, and explore opportunities for collaboration.

Attendees found the event informative and provided a comprehensive introduction to many aspects of planning and launching a start-up. They also found that the presenters were knowledgeable on business planning, funding and financing, legal and regulatory considerations. One of the attendees commented, “The insights from Fiona were extremely helpful for understanding what it takes to attract a successful business loan as a young start-up. Fiona’s transparent perspective revealed what truly interests lenders versus common misconceptions.’’

EnterprisingYou assists aspiring entrepreneurs in Greater Manchester with a business idea to transition into self-employment easily, start new ventures, or explore growth opportunities for their existing businesses. Offering innovative workshops and expert advice on assorted topics, including personal skills, marketing, and business/personal finance. The program is tailored to assist individuals in launching and enhancing their businesses, enabling them to achieve their objectives quickly and accurately.

“The Launchpad into EnterprisingYou event has proven to be an excellent platform for us to introduce our services to self-initiated entrepreneurs across Greater Manchester, following successful starts in Rochdale and Bury,” said Yvonne Sampson, Head of Enterprise at GM Business Growth Hub.

“Once again, the Stockpot event demonstrated the thriving business community in the area and GM Business Growth Hub is dedicated to providing the right business support to help them turn their passion into a successful business.”

EnterprisingYou will be running Launchpad events across Greater Manchester; keep an eye on our website and social media channels for when we announce future dates and locations.

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