Business boost for Croydon’s budding entrepreneurs

Croydon high street. Pic: Roger

Croydon high street. Pic: Roger, Creative Commons

A month long programme of business events has been launched in Croydon, offering aid, support, and advice for burgeoning entrepreneurs.

Croydon Business Month, the result of a partnership between Croydon Council and NatWest, Develop Croydon, Barclays, GLE Group and SME Consortium, kicked off with the ‘Your Lightbulb Moment’ event for young entrepreneurs on Wednesday October 30.

A calendar of events is planned for November including seminars, conferences, job fairs, and workshops designed to help Croydon residents start new businesses or develop existing ones.

The GLE Group, which provides advice on business finance, will host a drop-in session at 1 Matthews Yard in Croydon on finance this Wednesday. On Thursday the council is hosting the ‘We Mean Business Expo’, where more than 1,000 local businesses will be exhibiting at Croydon Town Hall.

Councillor Vidhi Mohan, cabinet member for communities and economic development, said: “This month is about supporting businesses to help them grow, and in particular, encouraging and inspiring young people to make their business ideas happen. We want budding entrepreneurs to know that Croydon is a place that means business.

Croydon is quickly becoming a major financial hub in the South-East of London. The borough is working to attract new businesses and has offered a business rate discount scheme, valid from now until March 2015 that will enable small and medium size businesses worth £12,500 or more, to save up to 65% on their business rates in the borough.

1,000 new businesses have moved into Croydon in the past two years and just last week four new companies announced they would move into Croydon Town’s Centre, creating more than 60 new jobs in the borough.

Marcin Niezgoda, director of Sweet Patisserie, one of the four businesses moving into Croydon, said: “Substantial discounts on business rates have lowered our company cost and improved cash flow.”

He added: “The main reason why we have decided to move to Croydon was the desire to reach new markets.”

The business month wraps up with a Dragon’s Den-inspired event on December 3 at the Weatherhill Business Centre in Whitestone Way, where budding entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to pitch their ideas to business and finance experts.

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