Emma Beats Phobia to Grow Successful Venture

Article excerpt

Byline: Karen Dent

AN internet entrepreneur who overcame a serious social phobia to start her business is aiming for expansion after winning work from clients including Deal or No Deal TV producer Endemol.

Northumbria University graduate Emma Reilly's original hopes of following her dream to work in the film production business was thwarted by her illness, so she used the internet to keep herself busy.

"I started to do web design as a hobby to keep my brain active," said the 28-year-old from Chapel House in Newcastle.

"I had just helped my family out with odd things, putting things online for my dad, who is a photographer. They said 'you should do this for yourself'."

In the five months since her internet marketing and design company Fizz Bang Interactive started trading, she has won consultancy work with Endemol and digital marketing contracts with online bingo companies in the North East.

"I've also had enquiries from London and one from America," said Ms Reilly. She was receiving incapacity benefits because of her illness, which prevented her from working, but practical support from a business training course helped her gain the confidence to start her own enterprise.

"Up until a couple of years ago, I couldn't even speak on the telephone," said Ms Reilly. "The social phobia, it's always there in the background. …