As an organisation that has been around for nearly 40 years and is the only enterprise centre in the area, we are the first port of call for anyone thinking of starting their own business. We hear from ambitious individuals with ideas ranging from setting up as a freelance project manager looking for advice on financial matters, to another entrepreneur expanding their start up home delivery service via a so-called dark kitchen and needing assistance to compose a business plan.
It’s a very exciting time to be supporting small business as the landscape has evolved regarding employment opportunities.
Many people within the hospitality and retail sector, which according to national statistics is a high proportion of Croydon residents now find themselves without a secure future. The economic landscape is shifting as it has several times throughout history, with the most recent, back in the early 1980’s, when our forefathers had the vision for Croydon Business Venture, which went on to rebrand as Start Up Croydon in 2017.
Due to the severe recession of the early 80’s, unemployment rose to three million and the high unemployment persisted throughout the decade. It was the highest levels of unemployment since the Great Depression during 1929-39, and we now find ourselves in a similar period of transition and unease.
Although there is much doom and gloom, the number of online job adverts in mid-February reached 80% of the level seen a year earlier. It had fallen as low as 34% in the first lockdown. We now see more Healthcare vacancies and many more opportunities in transport, logistic and warehouse roles offering new, much-needed employment paths.
At Start Up Croydon, we meet the ambitious trailblazers. Those people who want to do it for themselves and want to lead others. Often, they are experienced employees within their particular sector, with the vision to go it alone, but lacking the know-how or confidence to get started.
At the other end of the scale, we have found that successful entrepreneurs and retired professionals are passionate about supporting people at the start of their journey. Although we offer free training and mentoring, we believe we can help more.
We are in a great position to cultivate a volunteer network to provide help, guidance and support to our budding and established entrepreneurs.