Tracy A Franklin is an embroiderer who trained at the Royal School of Needlework and specialises in traditional hand-embroidery. Tracy teaches workshops and sells embroidery supplies from her studio in Durham city centre, and has also travelled to the USA and New Zealand to teach.
Tracy is one of the North East business owners who have received support from the North East Business Support Fund which is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund, with the business being awarded a grant of £2977.49.
In March 2020, when lockdown was announced, Tracy had to cancel the in-person teaching she had lined up and close her studio to customers. As restrictions were lifted she was able to resume some in-person sessions however the number of people she can teach is reduced due to the need for social distancing.
During lockdown Tracy began to do some one-to-one teaching via Zoom and saw an opportunity to expand this to include group workshops and seminars. However, Tracy needed to upgrade her existing equipment and invest in technology in order to deliver group sessions.
A grant from the North East Business Support Fund has enabled Tracy to buy equipment including a camera, smartphone and iMac which she will use to deliver group classes. The new equipment also allows her to annotate images of students’ work with feedback, and show close-up footage of embroidery techniques.
Tracy also has plans to share tutorials online and via social media. “Online teaching was a revelation. I never thought it was something I would do but it has now become an opportunity,” said Tracy.
“The grant and the opportunity to teach online is something that’s kept me going and kept me motivated,” said Tracy. “COVID-19 has made us think on our feet and this is an example of a good opportunity that’s come out of a bad situation. COVID isn’t going away and I’m grateful to have received this support – I feel as though my business can continue and I have opportunities to run online teaching alongside socially-distanced sessions in my studio. If this support hadn’t been available, I wouldn’t have been able to upgrade my equipment.”
The North East Business Support Fund is administered by North East Enterprise Agency NBSL.
NBSL is approved by BIS, Customer First, and Investors in People and has a team of experienced accredited business funding advisers, who work with people and businesses across the North East to identify solutions that aid development and growth.
NBSL relaunched The North East Business Support Fund (NEBSF) in 2018. The inaugural round of funding was launched in 2012, since then NBSL has provided funding and support to businesses from an array of sectors spanning all corners of the region with a recent impact report finding that the fund has yielded an impressive £4.40 economic boost for every £1 invested.