AN entrepreneur who left school at the age of 16 has become one of Paisley’s youngest businesswomen.
When Danielle Stevenson walked out of Gleniffer High four years ago, she had no idea what she wanted to do with her life.
Now the 20-year-old businesswoman has just enjoyed a successful first six months running her own florist shop, Aloe Petal, in Neilston Road, Paisley.
She credits Alan Morris, a careers advisor with Skills Development Scotland (SDS) and Ian Harvey, an employment liaison officer for the Scottish Training Foundation, for helping her career blossom.
Alan put Danielle in touch with Ian, who signed her up to the 12-week Get Ready for Work scheme and found her a placement in a hairdressing salon.
Danielle said: “I didn’t know what I was going to do when I left school. I didn’t enjoy the hairdressers but then Ian came up with the idea of going to work at the Sunflowers shop in Mill Street, Paisley.
“They were brilliant with me and I just picked it up. I ended up getting a part-time job there while I studied interior design at Reid Kerr College.”
After Danielle finished her course, she got a full-time job as manager of Lilias Flowers, in Kilbarchan.
“I was in the shop on my own and doing everything,” she said. “I basically felt like it was my shop but it wasn’t.
“Then I thought I could be doing the same job but making money for myself.”
Danielle got in touch with Business Gateway, who referred her to the Prince’s Trust and their Youth Business Team.
She did some book-keeping and financial courses with them and they helped with funding for the business.
“I saw the shop in Neilston Road last November and thought it would be perfect but someone else bought it,” said Danielle.
“It was still lying empty, so I got in touch with the owner and she said she’d rent it to me.
“I got the keys and, with the help of my dad Danny, mum Liz and brother Colin, we got the place ready. That was when my interior design course came in handy.
“I officially opened on Tuesday, July 26, and things have been going really well since. A lot of my business is through word of mouth, which is great.”
Danielle said she’d be happy to take on a work experience trainee from STF to give them the same encouragement she received.
She said: “It’s great running my own business. When you know you’ve put in a lot of work to get it up and running, it’s very satisfying.
“Going on all the courses was worth it in the end.
“I would definitely recommend people go on one of the courses. If it wasn’t for that, I’d never have known what I wanted to do.”
Alan said: “Danielle is a great example of a young person who, with guidance from SDS and strong support from the Scottish Training Federation, has found her true vocation.
“She’s clearly a very enthusiastic and enterprising young lady and we wish her all the best with her new venture.
“It doesn’t happen often that people come along to a course and end up starting their own business but it’s the perfect route.”
Ian added: “Danielle has taken every opportunity and worked really hard to get to where she is now.”