After a devastating accident left successful businesswoman Veronica Harnett unable to return to work, she decided to turn her hobby of cake making and passion for fairly traded products into a thriving business after getting the right mix of training from Business Link.

From 2002, Veronica Harnett held a senior management position with the Connexions Service where she was locality manager responsible for running the service in Redcar and Cleveland.

After falling down the stairs of her Guisborough home in 2009 and breaking her back, Veronica was left on crutches for six months and unable to return to her job.

She decided a complete change in direction was needed and Business Link became her new crutch to lean on whilst she set up her own business, Fairly Scrumptious.

Veronica has always cooked and baked cakes for other people as a hobby and as a Traidcraft representative, has a keen interest in fair trade products. When circumstances forced her to find a career that meant she could work around the constant pain she is now in, an ethical cake business was the new challenge she needed.

Run from her home kitchen, Fairly Scrumptious specialises in handmade celebration and wedding cakes, cupcakes and luxury desserts; “I have always loved making cakes and used to read about people making a successful career out of their passion for baking, but because I had a good job which I enjoyed I never looked to pursue setting up my own business,” said Veronica.

“I’m really excited about Fairly Scrumptious as I feel it is important for people to be able to buy cakes where the ingredients are ethically sourced and I saw a gap in the market for these products. Orders have been coming in from word of mouth, my Guisborough market stall, the website and through attending craft fairs, so I’m pleased with the interest in such a short space of time.

“I started working with Business Link once I had written my business plan and they helped me to explore new markets and source dedicated free business courses, which is so important for a new small business.

Stephen Gibson, Business Link adviser, has worked with Veronica to support her in setting up the business. He said: “Veronica has demonstrated that it is possible for people to create a business from a talent. It is always a pleasure to work with people who are embarking on a new challenge and to give them guidance to help them succeed. Business Link offers a range of start-up events and courses that are tailored to help people who want to run their own business.”

Moving forward, Veronica is looking to grow the business further and hopes to supply her cakes to delicatessens and coffee shops in the Tees Valley area.

Veronica adds: “If anyone is faced with change in circumstances that are out of their control it is worth considering setting up your own business. There is lots of help out there, so you’re not alone and it could be a positive career move. I may have broken my back, but since setting up the business, I haven’t looked back.”

Business Link has a team of expert advisers who offer advice, help and information to individuals and companies across the region, giving them access to the ‘business brains’ who will help to get their business idea off the ground, or grow their existing company. For further information about Business Link visit or call 0845 600 9 006.