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Julia's new beginning from a bad situation.

A FORMER chief executive has turned entrepreneur to open a business which aims to help busy executives make new friends.

Julia Frater has set up Bon-Amis, an organisation for single people who feel they are too busy to organise their own social life or who are simply looking to mix in new social circles.

Frater was chief executive of visitTeesvalley until the organisation closed in January due to Government funding cuts and she used the opportunity to start her own business. She said: "I set up Bon-Amis to provide networking opportunities for professional single people over 35 years old in the North East.

"We are really excited about launching the business and ultimately it is about providing them with an experience they won't get anywhere else.

"I'm passionate about the North East and North Yorkshire and I wanted to carry on doing something for the area.

"Those who join will be able to enjoy a host of exciting activities ranging from fine dining, a day at the races, wine tasting and salsa dancing to French classes, cookery lessons and country walking."

Frater got help to set up the company from support group Business Link and was given a range of help including developing her business plan and the operational aspect of the business.

She also attended a number of Business Link events which helped her in the initial stages of the launch.

Frater said: "Business Link provided excellent business mentoring to me which has increased my focus.

"My business adviser took a refreshing and effective approach with my business plan and provided valuable input into my marketing plans."

Business Link's Mandy Dowson said: "It has been a pleasure working with Julia to develop her business plan and to support her throughout the launch."
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Mar 7, 2011
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