A Lancaster woman who started her own business after getting just one interview from 600 job applications has reached the finals of a prestigious business awards.
Success has been hard won for Anastasja Katzinova, 36, who left school aged 13 and was homeless by the time she was 15, after a difficult home life resulted in her “slipping through the net”.
But after going back to college aged 28, and leaving university in 2012 with a First in Creative Writing, she set up her own business last year and is now a finalist in the Enterprise Vision Awards (EVAs).
She said: “I had a reading age of about 18 when I was seven and spent much of my school days feeling quite isolated. I had a very difficult home life and ended up with no confidence or belief in my abilities. I ended up completely slipping through the net and was homeless by the time I was 15. I lived in a really small town so most of the jobs I did in my twenties were things like pot washing, waiting on and bar work as I had no qualifications.”
Anastasja left university in 2012, and was employed by North West Playwrights in Manchester.
But Arts Council funding cuts resulted in the removal of funding for the organisation, and Anastasja’s job came to an end. She moved to Lancaster from Manchester to be nearer her mum.
She said: “I didn’t think it would be too difficult to get a job once I moved here as I have years of customer service and administration experience. “Obviously there aren’t many jobs in theatre so I ended up applying to work in pubs, restaurants, supermarkets – I was willing to do any type of work just to get back on my feet.”
Anastasja started her copy writing and bid writing business Word Magick in July 2014 after being unemployed for 18 months.
She decided to start a business on the New Enterprise Allowance scheme with support from the Bay Business Centre in Morecambe and the Northern Lights Team at Uclan.
“My main skill is that I can write, so I started a business based on that and just hoped it would work out,” she said.
“One of my first clients was the Bay Business Centre who hired me on a freelance basis to do their bid writing. It was pretty scary going it alone but within one year I’ve managed to create a growing business with a good reputation.”
Anastasja is currently expanding her business to include a funding consultancy and hiring her partner to help with the day to day running of the business so she can focus more on the creative aspect of her work.
“I would love to win the EVA I’ve been shortlisted for, partly to make businesses and charities more aware of the work I do and partly to prove to anyone who has been through similar circumstances to myself that it is possible to achieve anything you put your mind to, no matter how tough things have been”.
Voting for the EVAs begins on August 10 and ends on September 11. Go to www.enterprisevisionawards.co.uk.