Seaworthy specialises in the offshore oil and gas, surveying and work boat sectors. Under Kimit’s organised watch, it gets the right seafarers in the right place at the right time. The company’s safe haven guarantee that they are paid at the ship owner’s full daily rate also stands out. “We’re just a team of two at the moment, but we’re available 24/7 for clients, even if it’s 4am,” says Kimit, 31.
“Our rate guarantee is competitive and we work really hard to find the correct crew for clients, take time to speak to all our candidates, find out their needs and help with their CVs.
“During Covid we have helped them repatriate after being kept on board because of restrictions, retrain and find new work. We know how to build a talented pool.”
With 87 port, government and private shipping clients worldwide, the Manchester-based company is aiming for a £1m turnover by 2025.
The seeds of Kimit’s success were there when she launched in 2017, having got the entrepreneurial bug selling fashion jewellery when a student and then from working in maritime recruitment where she saw opportunities to fill empty roles.
But she faced hurdles too. Academic struggles with undiagnosed dyslexia held her back, then once recognised still drained her confidence.
It was youth charity The Prince’s Trust and its enterprise programme, which supports 18 to 30-year-olds aspiring to work for themselves, that made all the difference. Providing practical knowhow and mentoring it was the anchor she needed to turn Seaworthy into a viable reality.
“The programme helped me formulate my idea and understand the basics, looking at everything from business planning to marketing, sales, budgeting and tax. The bite-size approach to learning made it all comprehensible,” she explains.
“Aware of my dyslexia, the Trust helped me to draw up policies and contracts. The biggest factor though was my business mentor. He taught me how to focus and make key things, that are basic common sense but not always followed, a way of life, for example the habit of checking emails before sending them. I turned to him again when I started hiring and we keep in touch.”
As an inspiring example encouraging the next generation of entrepreneurs, Kimit is now an ambassador for the Trust and a pro-active figure scrutinising standards in a sector still 90 percent male dominated.
She is also aware that she is in an industry lacking public recognition despite its vital work keeping the world ticking over.
“I make a point of participating, not shying away,” she says. “A non-vessel business has an important industry perspective and needs to be included. That is now happening. Knowledge is power. The enterprise award will be a wonderful help in all areas of my work.”
Plans for Seaworthy now include offering payroll services, expansion into other maritime sectors that thrive in winter, securing investment and growing the team.
The Prince’s Trust’s support also enabled Kimit, a skilled embroiderer who originally wanted to work in couture, realise a truth about her talents and the role of dyslexia.
Her excellent memory, attention to detail and perfectionist application managing repetitive tasks have all helped her make Seaworthy a success.
“With right support and determination,” she says, “you can achieve anything.”
NatWest Enterprise Award recognises young people who have overcome barriers and succeeded in creating a sustainable business or social enterprise.