Dawnay Estate, Scarborough Business Hero

Engaging more with other local businesses could make a huge difference to your business

Katrina Shamel, a Scarborough Business Hero, is clearly passionate about the Dawnay Estates where she is the residential and commercial lettings manager and the manager of Wykeham Business Centre. The business of the Dawnay Estates is land and property management that’s been here for 350 years – probably the oldest business that’s taken part in the Doing Business In Scarborough project so far!

Katrina moved on to the estate and took the job when it became available 10 years ago and she’s been able to develop the job to make it her own.

Dawnay Estates does a lot of diversification and regeneration using the assets they have and turning them into commercial enterprise. For example Wykeham Business Centre was once a farm and now provides office accommodation for eleven companies among them a mix of traditional office based businesses – solicitors, wealth management advisors and graphic designers – as well as the more unusual – a Music Academy, an NHS Eye Screening Service and a Hypnotherapist.
More than 30 independent companies are based on the Estate, between them employing over 150 people. The Estate has created an environment to enable businesses to flourish. They can adapt offices as businesses grow and change their way of working. For example, they were able to turn three offices into one to suit one business’ growing needs and divide another into smaller spaces to accommodate others.

When I asked Katrina what she loves about her business and, in particular, doing business in Scarborough, she said it’s making dreams come true and watching things grow. Scarborough’s location is good: we have the coast and then just six miles away is the forest. It’s fantastic. And still relatively inexpensive compared with, for example, York.

Apathy of some local people can be a frustration. Many local people haven’t been anywhere else so don’t appreciate how fabulous Scarborough is. But she’s noticed that those people who leave for a while and then are inevitably drawn back finally realise how wonderful the place is.

Katrina is also a keen networker helping to put businesses in touch with others for mutual benefit. She’s the network leader of Scarborough & District’s Women In Rural Enterprise (WiRE). But it can be difficult to get people engaged in looking outside, beyond their own business. Inward looking businesses miss out on the benefits of networking and engaging with others. For example businesses that are business to consumer rather than business to business are not looking further afield for more opportunities and different ways of doing things. They could be missing out on so much more opportunity.

She said that her one piece of advice to business owners is to go to every networking event that you can. Find out how Scarborough works. Everybody knows everybody else. If you get out there, you’ll find out what’s going on.