Start-up enterprise is fit for purpose
A YOGA teacher from Oban is bringing balance to the life of people on the West Coast thanks to a lot of determination and a little help from a government scheme.
After the death of her mother, Susan Irvine, 35, decided to quit her job of 14 years, sell all of her possessions and travel the world.
Susan said: ‘I had always wanted to go travelling and to go to a yoga retreat. I managed to book a 200-hour Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga teacher training programme in Thailand and, after going around Australia and Bali, went back to Koh Samui to start.
‘I carried on practising every day and went back for a further 100 hours of Yin Yoga training, using up my last savings before I flew back on September 18 last year – the anniversary of my mum’s passing.’
Now Susan has brought yoga to some of the most isolated villages through SuAsana Yoga and Massage Therapy.
Although she set out to run just two classes a week, local appetite has seen Oban’s newest business expand beyond Susan’s goals, and she now runs yoga classes and private sessions, covering Oban, Taynuilt, Connel, Dalmally and Lochgilphead.
Susan said: ‘ When I got back, I signed on with the Jobcentre and my intention was to start something up but I didn’t know if it would work. Then the Jobcentre told me that because I was unemployed, I was entitled to get help from the New Enterprise Allowance (NEA). The scheme offered £65 a week for 13 weeks and then 13 weeks at £ 33, which helped me get established while I was building the business.
‘I was sleeping on my stepdad’s sofa because I sold off all my possessions to go travelling and so had nothing to come back to.
‘That money really helped because I managed to get someone to rent a flat to me where I could offer holistic massage therapy, which I’m also qualified to do, while I was setting up the yoga classes.
‘Emilio, my NEA coach, was very supportive and gave me a lot of information. I enjoyed the security of having a business adviser to call on at any time and he continues to support and help me as my business grows and develops.’
Susan now hopes the business will continue to flourish. ‘People have really embraced the styles of yoga I teach, and we get people of all ages, from 18 up to 70, coming along to the classes.’
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Susan Irvine’s business started with government funding.