This woman's bravery and determination while growing her business has won her an award
A woman who overcame many personal challenges to develop a social enterprise in Whitley Bay, has scooped a business award.
Gail Curry, of Happy Planet Creative Arts, received recognition at the 2019 Natwest Great British Entrepreneur Awards.
The North Shields woman was named winner of the Entrepreneurial Spirit award in credit to her role as both a local artist and owner of Happy Planet Creative Arts in Whitley Bay.
Gail said: “It’s been a difficult few years ensuring that the business has the opportunity to thrive, and the award acknowledges my determination to create opportunities for artists in the area is never in vain.
“As those who know me or engage with Happy Planet Art are aware, I run the business despite facing mental health issues and losing my speech.
“I put my heart and soul into my business and choose to use my abilities to overcome the challenges rather than allow my disabilities to hold me back.
“I choose to find solutions to problems, and ensure that Happy Planet continues in spite of my own difficulties. I am incredibly grateful that this has been recognised by the judging team.”
Happy Planet Creative Arts is a social enterprise in Whitley Bay that showcases the works of artists from across the region.
Its retail space provides a platform for smaller creative businesses and individuals seeking to connect with customers.
It also encourages others to embrace their creative sides for the benefit of their well being, with workshops run by Gail and other artists.
North Tyneside Business Factory and TEDCO Business Support helped Gail in her start-up journey to launch Happy Planet Creative Arts from the current shop unit in Whitley Bay.
Business advisor Janice Ross assisted with business planning and one-to-one mentorship but crucially, helped Gail overcome a number of challenges at key points in the start-up process.
Gail added: “I consider Janice to be a friend as well as mentor and having Janice with me as chaperone at the ceremony gave me the confidence I needed to attend. “