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Entrepreneurs lend a hand to growing business

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Thommen launched lingerie boutique Boudiche in Edinburgh three years ago with her friend and fellow former accountant Fiona McLean. Turnover this year is forecast to be between £600,000 and £650,000 and the pair is opening a second shop in Glasgow later this month.

Thommen says she’s been astounded by the level of support given to her by fellow entrepreneurs. “I’m not used to getting help for nothing,” she quips.

“There’s a really nice community in Edinburgh for entrepreneurs and people who support entrepreneurialism. The support we’ve had is brilliant. People that have made it in business themselves just want to give a bit back and don’t expect anything for it."

Thommen speaks to as many business people as she can to get advice on issues from marketing to website development. She says the MD of a £120m-turnover company recently put aside five hours of his own time to talk her through the ins and outs of e-commerce as Thommen is planning a revamp of Boudiche’s website.

The generosity she’s been afforded by that entrepreneur and many others has inspired Thommen to give something back to the community. “I get it now, having gone through the process of setting up a business and realising we wouldn’t be where we are if it wasn’t for the help we’ve had.

“When we’re more established, I’d like to become a mentor. It’s just nice to help somebody else when you’ve had so much help.”

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