A WOMAN who sells colourful and unusual African clothing and accessories has become the 1000th person to receive a business start up grant from Liverpool Vision.

Olusola Akinya, who lives in Toxteth has now opened a shop, ‘Dress Sense Couture’, in Kensington following financial support and advice from the city’s economic development company and its enterprise partner, Train 2000.

Olusola, a 22-year-old mother of three, initially had no idea that the clothes that her mother sent to her from Nigeria and that she wore to church were causing such a stir.

But such was the level of interest from people asking where they could buy similar garments that she decided to start her own business.

Olusola said: “My mother sells clothes back in Nigeria and she sent me some to wear and people here really seemed to like them and it was then I realised there was possible a genuine market for them.

“Now I’m providing customers with genuine African clothing and accessories at affordable prices as well as high quality hair and beauty products.

“Many of my lines are not currently available in this country which means it’s not just people in Liverpool that are buying them, but also from London, Birmingham and Manchester.

“Now if all goes to plan I hope to open an Afro Caribbean beauty parlour and employ hairdressers from different ethnicities.”

The Liverpool Vision Start Up Fund has been created to encourage and stimulate new business starts across the city. The Start Up Fund provides up to £500 as a grant to support start up costs and is available to new businesses in the process of starting up within the Liverpool City Council boundaries, especially those under-represented in business such as women, ethnic minorities and those with disabilities.

Chris Heyes, Business Start Up manager at Liverpool Vision, said: “One thousand business start ups is another significant milestone for us and is a testament to our continuing effort to support and stimulate enterprise in the city as well as a reflection of the enterprise culture that exists in the city.

“Olusola is an excellent example of how you can turn a good business idea into reality and we wish her every success with her venture.”

Olusula also received support from women’s enterprise organisation, Train 2000 as well as funding from the Prince’s Trust.

She added: “The support I’ve received from Liverpool Vision and from Train 2000 has been excellent not only in terms of funding but also in developing my business plan and being given a range of contacts to help my get my idea off the ground.”

For more information on the support that Train 2000 can offer and how to access funding for Business Start Up call our team on 0151 236 6601.