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Little Leaders – Big Inspiration

Little Leaders – Big Inspiration

Business name: Little Leaders
Industry: Childcare
Location: Ipswich and Eyke, Suffolk


Laura Ali and Katie Everett were both working for a charity run childcare service in Eyke, Suffolk. Both had experience in the field of childcare and had entrepreneurial ambitions. An idea of founding their own nursery began to form.

“Having previously established a nursery in Germany I knew I had the skills and experience to open my own nursery in Suffolk. The only thing stopping me was raising the finance we needed to start the project” – says Laura.

This obstacle has proven to be harder to overcome than expected. As a start up they were unsuccessful in applying for a business loan from high street banks. However, this was not the only option available to our aspiring business owners. One of the business managers recommended Foundation East.


Laura admits that this new arrangement seemed a bit daunting at first. “But Valerie Jarrett, our Business Loan Manager was brilliant” – she explains. “Valerie was always at the end of the phone, always willing to give us help and support during the application process and even more so today.’


A Business loan from Foundation East made it possible for Laura and Katie to purchase the lease for the premises. The old church building was perfect – it had previously operated as a nursery, but was in a poor shape, having been unused for 2 years. Fortunately, nothing a lick of paint and a few months of hard work couldn’t fix.

Where they are today

Their determination and dedication paid dividends quickly. They created a lovely nursery with  an open space play area, kitchen, office space, conservatory and garden. Six months after opening, and only a remarkable 9 months after purchasing the lease, Little Leaders Childcare was at full capacity. Both its Ipswich and Eyke Premises offering outstanding facilities and childcare services for children aged from eighteen months to five years.

Valerie summarises their story: “For me working with Laura and Katie has been brilliant, having worked with them from the start of the application. Seeing them now running both the Ipswich and the Eyke nurseries, in such short time frame, is fantastic success and a real credit to the hard work that they have put in.”

And that’s not all. Their plans for the future include making further improvements to the existing nurseries and expanding to add a further childcare facility. See how they are doing at