Mo cooks up his business dream

Grill work: Mohammed Akhtar (centre) and staff
Grill work: Mohammed Akhtar (centre) and staff
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For Mo Akhtar, starting up his own business was a distant dream.

Having worked in catering for much of his life, he knew he had the experience and know how to make and sell quality food.

What he lacked though was the business experience and understanding to make his plan a success and set up a business on his own.

He worried about losing his investment and being unable to make it work.

Fast forward a year and following a little help from Blackpool Council’s Get Started team – part of the Start Up Lancashire service supported by the European Regional Development Fund – he is now the proud owner of thriving Central Drive-based takeaway restaurant, Tony’s Grill.

He employs six people and his turnover has trebled in 18 months.

He’s even looking to the future and may hire more staff with a busy season ahead.

The future, in short, looks bright.

Mo said: “I have a lot of experience in catering and I was interested in investing some money and setting up my own business.

“I’d heard about the council’s Get Started team but I wasn’t sure how it all worked.

“I attended a few sessions and was able to sit down for a few one-on-one chats about my plans and it was really helpful.

“They talked to me about the pros and cons of setting up my own business and I went to sessions on everything from taxation and bookkeeping and was able to discuss things like licensing and planning issues.

“I got started myself last September and it has grown and grown.

“Now I’m looking at hiring some more staff for the season and it’s going really well.”

Mo’s story is one of many resulting from Blackpool Council’s Get Started scheme.

More than 100 new small businesses opened last year as a result of the scheme and Cllr Fred Jackson, who is in charge of the scheme, hopes for similar success this year.

Coun Jackson, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for urban regeneration, said: “It’s always very pleasing to see new businesses opening up in Blackpool.

“I wish Mo the very best of luck and I hope we will see lots of new businesses opening up in 2014.

“We want people to know that, if they are a small business looking to setup in Blackpool, help and support is available.”

To find out more about how you could “Get Started” in business, call Blackpool Council on 01253 477147.