Valentina’s earning a crust thanks to the Restart Scheme!

16 Mar 2023
When the pandemic struck, the hospitality industry was among the hardest hit. Italian mum Valentina, 39, who lives in Manchester, lost her job as a waitress in a steak house and was out of work for two years. When she joined the Restart Scheme, delivered by Ingeus, she was determined to take back control of her life.
Valentina longed to open her own Italian takeaway to provide a more secure future for herself and her two sons. She sourced suitable premises for the business in Sale but needed advice on how to prepare for self-employment. The Restart Scheme was set up by the Government to help people who lost their jobs during the pandemic. People are given tailored support to find work, including starting up their own businesses.
Valentina’s Restart Advisor referred her to Ingeus partner Momentic, who provide advice on self-employment and business start-ups. She was assisted with everything from invoice processing, banking, and general accounting, to self-assessment, business rates, and making the transition to self-employment. She was also put in touch with local suppliers and wholesalers of Italian food.
“My Restart Advisor is an angel, an absolute angel,” says Valentina. “Every week, there’d be a face-to-face meeting or telephone call and if there were any problems he would answer them or put me through to the Momentic business advisor, so I always had an angel at my back. I was anxious, I wanted to open the business as soon as possible. There was a problem with verifying my identity for the tax return, so they helped me a lot with that.”
The new Italian takeaway, Ceresis, is now open, with its ‘Mad Fer Wheat’ slogan, a fun twist on the famous Manchester phrase Mad Fer It! Valentina, who runs the business with her partner Marco, is thrilled to be bringing a taste of Italy to Sale. “We were missing the pizza from home, the authentic, square-cut Roman pizza, and thought we need to do this!” she says. 

Roman Pizza al Taglio is a crispy, thin-crust pizza baked in a large rectangular tray and cut into squares. “There are lots of flavours and you can order a slice or have the whole tray for your pizza party.” For now, it’s a family business, but Valentina is keen to take on more staff. 

“We’ve been open for two weeks and I’m very, very happy because the best thing is, I can already see people coming back. I’d like to start a stand in a market stall in the future and do food festivals as well. It would be nice to open another takeaway in Altrincham or somewhere similar.”

Valentina couldn't be more pleased with the help she received under the Restart Scheme. She adds: "We are keeping in touch with my advisors from Ingeus and Momentic and I am so glad I met them. I hope they will come in for a chat and to enjoy some pizza! I am so thankful for this opportunity, I have no words, they’ve been amazing from the start.”
Chris, her Momentic Business advisor commented: “It has been a pleasure working with Valentina; she has shown such drive and passion to get her business launched I am sure it will be a great success. I encourage anyone on the Restart Scheme who might be thinking of starting a business to speak to their Restart Advisor and ask to be referred to Momentic!”

Commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions, Ingeus delivers the Restart Scheme in Greater Manchester and Central and West London and is partner to Serco, which delivers the scheme in Central West Midlands.

Watch Valentina's story


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