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A taste of Jamaica comes to Staffordshire

Sherene 36, originally from Jamaica, came to England in 1998 after studying travel and tourism however, and she found securing a job in the industry extremely hard.

After some further job searching outside of the travel and tourism sector, Sherene finally found a job as a customer service advisor at N Power. Although this wasn’t her dream job Sherene felt it was necessary to take employment and try to learn as many skills as she could which would give her the confidence she needed to one day achieve her career ambitions.

After working for 2 years Sherene was made redundant, she had no choice but to sign on to the job centre, which proved very difficult for Sherene to come to terms with. Securing another full time role even with her qualifications and experience in a customer service role seemed unlikely.

After much encouragement from her family and friends Sherene made the choice to start up her own business and become her own boss. With no previous business experience it was apparent Sherene needed some support, this is when she was referred to business coach Nadiya from Business Enterprise Support.

Sherene chose to return to her roots and open a Jamaican restaurant in the heart of Stoke-on-Trent, as there seemed to be a gap in the market.

After guidance on how to put together a business plan, setting business goals and objectives, research into the market and providing her with motivation, Nadiya felt Sherene was ready to open the doors, “Sherene really wanted to start up her own business and bring part of her own culture into the city of Stoke-on-Trent. The skills she learnt as a customer service advisor at N Power meant she had the ability to communicate well with the public and make their experience as friendly and welcoming as possible.”

Nadiya continued, “Once we had put together a business plan and set some goals, I saw Sherene’s confidence grow and the business is now becoming a huge success!”

Jamrock Café and Takeaway is now open to customers seven days a week. Students from Staffordshire University have become regular customers as well as local residents and workers who pass the café which is based on Palmerston Street in Hanley.

The café serves authentic Jamaican dishes including Jerk Chicken and Curry Mutton with Jamaican mixed rice or dumplings.

Sherene commented, “It was the best decision I ever made to open my own business. I am much happier and enjoying being my own boss. I am planning a number of events at the café to build some support from the local community to entice them to try my authentic Jamaican recipes.

“I will soon be employing more staff as we are getting busier and busier every week that goes by. I am extremely grateful for the support I have received from my family and friends and of course BES.”