Since May 2019 we have been running bi-annual incubator style training to support local people to develop their business plans and launch their businesses.
Our three-month programme has now grown to incorporate a dedicated mentor through our volunteer programme and free use of our co-working space during the process and for up to three months after the programme.
Delegates have included ex-corporate employees who were made redundant, ex-offenders who are trying to turn their lives around with vision, purpose and guidance, recently retired people who need some help to fulfil their life’s ambition, and young people who want to make their current side hustle their main income. We are so proud of our cohorts who are often from completely different backgrounds, but offer support without judgement to bring out the best in one another.
After two months of weekly lessons, delegates are empowered to pitch to some of our Trustees in a Dragon’s Den style pitch – although, thankfully, there are no “I’m out” comments from the likes of Debra Meaden! Our Trustees are all volunteers and are experienced business leaders who offer constructive feedback to help develop business plans and grow future fortunes. Volunteers contribute their time and expertise to help the next generation of business owners. See more about our recent winners here. https://startupcroydon.co.uk/bbh-winner-spring-2022-winston-douglas/
The delegates with the top three scores win a small financial contribution to their business, and because we have been fortunate enough in the past to generate income through selling office space, meeting rooms and co-working space at our Purley Way office; Weatherill House, the money has, historically, been donated from StartUp Croydon’s own funds.
The current winning amounts are:
Runner up 1: £250
Runner up 2: £250
Whilst a relatively small sum of money, these amounts cover some of the start-up purchase costs, but as the years have gone by and costs have increased the amounts make less and less difference to the winners.
We would love to increase the value of the winners’ pot to make a real difference to our winners’ starting position by, perhaps, paying sub-contractors to develop a MVP or employing their first staff members to really get their company off the ground. Unfortunately, the new work-from-home lifestyle has significantly and negatively impacted our revenue model, so our funds are stretched and we are not in a position to add to the fund.
This is where we need your help, and is the reason we have created a Just Giving page. We are reaching out to our supporters to help us increase this business start-up fund for local people.
We know from almost 40 years in the borough that there are many people who care deeply about the local economy and want to help others lay down the foundations to succeed.
If you are able to pay it forward and contribute to our winners’ fund, we would be absolutely delighted to accept your generosity through financial support, and it would be potentially life changing for our business startups.
Please visit our JustGiving page here: https://www.justgiving.com/startupcroydon
Thank you from the Team and Trustees at StartUp Croydon.