North Walsham woman challenges government minister

A mother-of-two from north Norfolk has voiced her concerns to a government minister about the lack of funding for over-35s starting out in business.

Gabriella Buckingham, 42, from North Walsham, has been running her own business Moobaacluck - Handmade Happiness, for two years, selling personalised and hand finished wooden decorations.

Ms Buckingham, who has also been an artist and illustrator for 20 years, took Mark Prisk, the minister of state for business and enterprise, to task at the first Rural Business Action Day organised by WiRE (Women in Rural Enterprise).

The event was organised to show the minister the diversity and importance of rural business and Ms Buckingham was invited as a result of her continued success and commitment to helping other women start and grow their businesses in Norfolk.

When Mr Prisk visited her stall she handed him a letter with more detail about the problems over-35s starting up in business faced, along with a case study enclosed of the difficulties her friend, Michelle Wall, 39, from Cumbria, who has suffered with rheumatoid arthritis since she was two-and-half-years-old, had experienced in starting her own business, creating rag dolls.

Ms Buckingham said: 'The minister seemed to be very keen on new media and enabling like minded businesses to get in touch to support and or mentor each other and WiRE is a great part of that. The very fact that I have been able to publicise Michelle's particular case is an example, she and I have not met but quickly built up a rapport through social media (both Twitter and Facebook) and have been able to help each other with queries and support.

'I hope that Mr Prisk will have read the information I gave him as an illustration of how difficult it can be for a disabled person

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and possibly anyone without access to funding to start their own business.'

She says she has not yet received a reply from Mr Prisk, but is hoping he will address some of the concerns she has raised.

Speaking at the WiRE event, Mr Prisk said: 'If our economy is to recover and grow, we need to bring out the enterprising spirit in everyone across the country, and it is important that people from all parts the UK feel motivated and inspired to start their own business.

'I am also particularly keen to encourage female entrepreneurship and I am delighted to attend the Rural Business Action Day. I hope the event helps support the next generation of rural businesses.'

For more information on Ms Buckingham and her business, visit