'If people improve their lives, I've done my job'
A HULL entrepreneur who launched a training business just two years ago has since helped more than 50 people become their own boss.
Tracy Petersen founded Cut To The Chase business training consultancy in 2010.
Last year, the former Cottingham High School pupil launched a pilot scheme for start-up businesses, aimed primarily at the long-term unemployed and people who face barriers to work.
Most of the students who took part in the pilot had been unemployed for between six months and three years, and were referred to Tracey by training organisations, the University of Hull and Remploy.
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Now 55 have gone on to launch their own businesses, many taking on additional staff as their ventures expand.
Tracy, who used to run Kona Gold lingerie shop in Beverley before spending ten years at the council and four years at the tax office, said: "These firms are having a massive impact on the local community.
"But it's not only that. I can't emphasise enough the importance of the pride that comes with having something productive to do with their time.
"I introduce a lot of them to different network events. The business community in Hull really does welcome new starters with open arms.
"There is a lot of encouragement from the council, the University of Hull and all sorts of different groups that just want to help people realise their dreams and generate wealth and employment for the region."
Cut To The Chase is based at the Enterprise Centre at the University of Hull, and has already helped launch a range of start-ups, from building and plumbing companies to online retailers and designers.
Tracy is now in negotiations on a series of new contracts and is looking at opening three new offices in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.
Her aim is to drive her company's turnover well into six figures and is hoping the expansion will enable her to work with would-be entrepreneurs to launch up to 300 firms – the equivalent of almost six a week.
Tracy said: "What's most important to me is that the students improve their lives by coming on one of my courses.
"It doesn't matter what business they have gone into – as long as they are making a living, that to me is a job well done.
"Their success creates a ripple effect, especially in an area like North Hull, where I come from.
"When they make a success of their business idea the kids think, 'Dad's working for himself, I want to do that'.
"Their success has a huge impact on other people's lives, too."