In what is unquestionably the era of the young entrepreneur, 25 year old Jessica Elliott is one of the UK’s most visible young pioneers to have laughed in the face of rising unemployment figures and university debt to take control of her own financial future and become her own boss.
Aged just 20, in 2008 Jessica founded J’s Dance Factory with £200 and a dream. Just months later Dancing after School classes followed and today provide dance classes in more than 24 schools across London in four Boroughs. More than 1000 J’s Dance Factory children aged 3-17, access classes on a weekly basis and perform at community based events while completing examinations, and the school has a growing talent agency and is being rolled out across the UK as a franchise….
What has been your biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge has been finance at some stages wanting to move forward but not having the cash to do it.
When the recession hit that was a very challenging time but I think hard times encourage a greater level of creativity and you have to think of new services or be imaginative in the way you put things together to survive. I’m also quite the perfectionist so a big challenge has been letting go of tasks and learning to delegate in order to achieve growth within the company.
What’s been your greatest achievement personally?
I think I’ll say interviewing David Cameron and then being invited to Downing Street.
Was a really proud moment for all of my family.
If you weren’t doing what you do, what would you be doing?
Well… I have a degree in sports therapy and I had my sights set on becoming a sports physiotherapist on graduating and working at Real Madrid in the sunshine! So guess I would probably be working in sports medicine.
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
My Mum always has, and always will be my biggest inspiration. Things haven’t always been easy, but I am inspired by her strength and will to succeed. The children who attend the dance school also inspire me too..
seeing them excel, grow in confidence and develop their talents is truly amazing.
What does the future hold for you?
I think the beauty of what I do is never knowing what is going to come next or what is around the corner. I would like to be able to continue to help more dancers or Mum’s looking for great business opportunities to set up their very own J’s Dance Factory franchise and grow the brand Nationally.
I am also looking forward to growing the agency JDF Management taking it to new heights and creating more opportunities for children and young people within the performing arts industry.