National recognition for the woman from the Fens who recovered from ill health to launch successful business

Julia Alemany Bird from Horse Human Harmony receives her award from (left) Adam Sharples, Chairman of Ixion Holdings and John Govett, Ixion's Group Chief Executive Julia Alemany Bird from Horse Human Harmony receives her award from (left) Adam Sharples, Chairman of Ixion Holdings and John Govett, Ixion's Group Chief Executive

Friday, July 4, 2014
1:37 PM

A woman who recovered from an extended period of ill health to start a new business using horses to teach leadership and life skills has won national recognition.

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With the help of the Government’s New Enterprise Allowance scheme and support from Ixion Holdings, Julia Alemany Bird of Friday Bridge has been presented with a Challenger Award at the 2014 Ixion Enterprise Awards in London.

This year’s awards ceremony was held at Central Hall, Westminster where more than 100 guests joined Adam Sharples and John Govett, chairman and chief executive of Ixion Holdings respectively with special guest Esther McVey, Minister of State for Employment. This Challenger Award category recognises a person or team that stands out due to the challenges they have overcome in order to establish the business and start trading.

After surgery for an ongoing heart problem and an extended period of ill health, Julia found herself on job-seekers allowance.

But now, she runs Horse Human Harmony, a unique learning experience with two Spanish horses, where equine guided learning can teach leadership, life skills and improve self-esteem and where sitting on Julia’s schoolmaster stallion Bizarro, can introduce people to the basics of classical riding, helping their posture, balance and confidence with one to one attention in an intimate and peaceful setting.

She said: ““I have overcome both physical and mental challenges by starting my business and I would like to think I can inspire other people to give self employment a go, even when they think they might have nothing to offer.

“I am pleased I have come this far to even think of entering this award when just over a year ago all I felt was helplessness and apathy. It has not been easy and I know I have difficult times ahead but I am determined to keep my business going in whatever way I can!”

* The New Enterprise Allowance is a scheme aimed at helping people who want to become self-employed. The scheme is aimed at people aged 18 and over who are interested in setting up their own business, and have a business idea. To be eligible, you must be claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support as a lone parent or Employment Support Allowance.

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