Inspirational winning night for Martin and the Over 50s StartMeUp programme

Martin Timbers is celebrating winning a Highly Commended award at the prestigious 2017 Business Awards For Excellence. Martin runs Isle of Wight Design and Print and his business was nominated twice. He was shortlisted for the Marketing and Design award as well as the Start Up category, for which Martin was awarded a Highly Commended. It’s a great success for Martin, as well as the Over 50s Start Me Up group, which is part of the Age Friendly Island project and is funded by the Big Lottery.

“It was an awesome night,” Martin says. “I was so delighted. I was so impressed by the awards and I was a little bit in awe. When I won an award it was the icing on the cake.”

Martin’s win reflects two years of hard work, building a business from scratch. He’s had a bit of help too, from the Over 50s Start Me Up programme. Business mentors Lynda and Fiona have helped Martin to launch and grow his business. It’s the first time Martin has been his own boss and Isle of Wight Design and Print is built on Martin’s 35 years of experience as a graphic designer, web designer and photographer.

“Two years ago I had no business,” Martin explains. “I had an idea but I had no equipment or clients. The first thing I did was attend the Start Me Up course at the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce in January 2016. I’ve never looked back.”

Martin was able to share his ideas with his mentors as well as other new businesses on the Start Me Up programme. Martin has grown with the project too. He’s now helping other Over 50s start-me-ups with advice on marketing and social media.

“To date I have 65 clients,” Martin says. “I’ve worked with 27 new start up businesses on the Island and a huge proportion of them have been part of the Over 50s group. At the awards I was supported by other new businesses from the Over 50s network as well as Lynda and Fiona. It was great to celebrate with them. I’ve been the first Over 50s person to win a Business Award but I’m part of the team and I feel like the award is for everybody really.”

The Over 50s Start Me Up project is supported by the Big Lottery Fund using National Lottery funding. It provides mentoring and helps to encourage people over 50 to start their own business and be their own boss. Being part of the project has made a huge difference to Martin.

“It’s really inspiring,” Martin says. “To be on the same shortlist as long established, multi-award winning big businesses is amazing. It was a bit like a dream. I work very long hours and it’s been worthwhile. Winning the award provides direction for my business and it tells me that I’m doing the right thing.”

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