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One-to-One Business Mentoring

We provide a free mentoring service to ensure start-ups or those looking to begin working for themselves have access to the support and advice which gives them the best chance of prospering.

Starting your own business can be lonely and we can help by answering your questions or simply if you need to talk to someone.

How you will benefit from business mentoring

Both before and during the first few years of running your business, together with our pool of volunteer mentors, we are here to help you.

Nowadays with the internet at our finger tips, anyone can learn how to start a business through YouTube Chat GPT and many other online resources.

We, however, find that many people starting their businesses need somebody to talk to or bounce ideas off. It may just be a query that can be dealt with on the telephone or you may want to sit down and have a one-on-one with one of our advisors. Either way, we are here to support you. We are here to listen, advise and act as your mentor.

We also recognise that you may need specialist help, and will be able to introduce you to sources of finance, accounting, legal services, marketing and website development, etc.

No matter where you are in your startup or business journey, we’ll also be able to refer you to experts in their field that are able to provide additional mentoring and advice, primarily in the following categories:

Property and Commercial Legal Advice

Our specialist advisor/mentor can advise you regarding directors and shareholder agreements, understanding property leases and contracts or advising on the most appropriate way forward on shareholder or boardroom disputes

General Business and Finance Advice

Our advisor ha 40 years experience with a major high street bank, specialising in relationship banking in the Small and Medium Enterprise sector and can give advise and guidance on business viability, finance options, business plans and financial projections.

Business Strategy and Planning

If you are looking for strategic advice on an existing or new business, our advisor has a wealth of experience with excellent knowledge acting as a facilitator and in particular, a specialisation in turnarounds and strategy.

VOLUNTEER TO MENTOR

Saffron Saunders, CEO at StartUp Croydon, has taken on the challenge of moving StartUp Croydon forward as a charity and she is very keen to enlist the help of talented, experienced leaders in business to help our up-and-coming entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

If you have business experience and specific knowledge in your particular field, we would love you to consider joining our Volunteer Network to support and inspire the next generation of business leaders.

Read below a message from Saffron about StartUp Croydon’s journey, how we support local business entrepreneurs, and how you could be involved in our mentorship programme.

Taking the helm of Start Up Croydon has been such an interesting experience.

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.

Introducing Stuart Woodrow – Senior Business Advisor

Stuart will be the first person to get back to you when you complete our Volunteer to mentor form.

Having gained much experience over a successful banking career, working with small businesses and SMEs, I established my own consultancy. My principal focus is on assisting businesses with their growth/strategic debt requirements also private individuals seeking wealth management and other advice including equity release.

I have recently worked as interim CEO and North Kensington Business Outreach with Portobello Business Centre including work supporting businesses impacted by the Grenfell fire. I created and developed a business forum for North Kensington.

I also work with MTW Consultants Ltd on the Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham supply chain initiatives helping local companies win work from public and private sector property developments.

I am an Ambassador for Business Buzz London Central.

Private interests include gastronomy, the arts, cricket and Crystal Palace FC.

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