They say those who can, teach. But after five years of training future broadcasters, college lecturer Ricardo Vilela was determined to practice what he preached.

“Over the last 5 years I have been teaching a foundation degree in broadcast television and BA Hons in visual communication. It was a great experience, but I really had the urge to go out and do it myself,” said Ricardo, “Year after year, I kept putting it off, getting more frustrated, until I finally took the plunge last year.”

Ricardo has now launched Manchester’s newest digital media production company, Sagitta Media – thanks to support he was offered under the Government’s New Enterprise Allowance scheme. The scheme provides support and mentoring for unemployed budding entrepreneurs, and is available to claimants of Jobseekers Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance (or their partners) and lone parents or sick on Income Support.

“Advising students how to build good quality show-reels, I was very aware that there is a lot of competition to find jobs in the creative industry,” said Ricardo, “As a father with two daughters I was looking for part-time work at first, but while I had lots of promising leads, nothing was really conclusive and that’s when I asked for support at the job centre to set up as a full time sole trader. They suggested I look at the NEA to help me launch the media business.”

The special thing for me was the level of support I received from my NEA business mentor, Anne. She had vast experience and helped me build a pretty clear idea of my cash flow and what I’d need to achieve over the first three years of trading. While we worked on my business plan, she encouraged me to look at the competition, at their fees and charges and how I would promote myself.

As well as offering video and multi-platform production, media training and an expert consultancy service, Ricardo says he’s on a mission to persuade local companies to see the benefits of live streaming their events, meetings and performances – already common practice in the US – and use it as standard.

“My biggest inspiration is the city of Manchester. It’s very creative and the perfect backdrop for me to develop my practice as a producer because people are open to having a conversation and exploring new ideas,” he said.

The dad of two added:

Since the company launched in July, it’s been great. I’ve been involved in a variety of projects, not just video production, but also e-book designs and photography assignments, and producing work for people who have already come back to me for next project.

“It’s really exciting to able to do something that is a passion for me, one where I can be fully involved, not just earning a living, but achieving something that’s almost spiritual, fulfilling my dreams.

Setting up a new business is scary, but it’s also daring and creative. I certainly have no regrets.”

It also seems that Ricardo’s enthusiasm is infectious. With a smile, he added: “My eldest told me the other day she wants to be a photographer. It’s a tough industry to be in, and so I hesitated at first to be encouraging. But it’s important as a father to be inspiring and positive – and I hope that my new business will set a good example to her that if you want something enough, everything’s possible.”

If you would like to find out more about Ricardo’s company, please click here.

Photo credits: Tam Jankowska, Tinska Photography.