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National Day of Reflection – A Year at StartUp Croydon

Looking back across the year since lockdown in March 2020, like many businesses, it’s a very surreal outlook.  As people, we have changed and as a business, we have re-evaluated our ways of working, as have those whom we serve and support.

Throughout the pandemic, our primary concern has been for the safety and welfare of staff, customers and visitors to Weatherill House.  This has involved sectioning off areas of the building that used to be vibrant and fun, reducing the capacity of our meeting rooms and limiting access to external visitors.

But we’ve also created new services to take into account the current needs of those who now find themselves working from home, or in need of a satellite hub because commuting to the city is no longer a viable option.  This has taken the form of dedicated co-working space, short-term lets and storage facilities.  Also, the majority of our training and course content has been facilitated on-line via Zoom and Teams, something that all of us have been involved with to some degree, whether in a business capacity or for personal meet-ups, celebrations or quiz and competition nights.

Even though Covid19 has restricted our lives, it hasn’t dulled our collective sense of humour.  As a team, we’ve become closer and stronger, bolstering each other every day, meeting and greeting everyone entering the building with a temperature gun but also with a warm welcome and a smile that I very much hope has had a knock-on effect.  Of course, it’s been tough on everybody, we haven’t managed to retain all of our customers as their circumstances have changed, but we are always here to help in any way we can.

Looking to the future, our new CEO, Saffron Saunders has recently entered the StartUp Croydon fold, bringing with her an aura of excitement and enthusiasm that is guaranteed to take the charity forwards.

“Startup Croydon has had a reputation that proceeds it for many years, a beacon of light to those who need support to focus on what they need to achieve, to turn their dreams into reality.

For me, now being given the chance to lead the charity at this most poignant of times, I feel a huge responsibility to make sure everything we do, impacts those that need our services most.

The economic shift in employment opportunities offers fear and uncertainty, but our well-trodden path to inspire and guide the next generation of self-employed is a mission we feel well equipped to handle. We want to reach more people and make a bigger impact at a  time when we know people will need our support, on a grander scale.

Flexible workspace is a stable of the new word and our model relies on local businesses taking up space within our Hub, by taking office space with us, Businesses are supporting our mission and paying it forward. Our network of professionals, successful entrepreneurs and key stakeholders will help us evolve our offering to fit the demands of the years to come and create more local wealth.

The digital transformation is here and skills and confidence in this field are a must for all that wish to succeed – our training will focus more and more on digital skills as we reach the intrepid leaders of the future.”



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