Registration is open for a free council-backed workshop that helped over 70 budding Croydon entrepreneurs turn their ideas into businesses last year.
The Pop-Up Business School returns to The Whitgift Centre from 25 September until 6 October. Open to everyone including the long-term unemployed, the course is designed for those who have a business idea but no website, premises or start-up cash. The course runs from 10am-4pm on weekdays.
Over the two weeks participants will get help developing their ideas before being offered the chance to use their newly-acquired skills at a vacant Whitgift Centre shop trading every Thursday, Friday and Saturday until the end of October. The course includes:
• One-to-one help from a team of experts
• Tips on developing your own website for free
• Advice on marketing via social media
More than 150 people attended last year’s course, which led to more than 70 people getting the knowledge and confidence to start their own businesses.
One participant last year was Cat Taylor, who adds music and other interactive digital sounds to handmade gifts ranging from cards and mugs to books and wall art.
She said: “I set up my stall in the unit and was making sales from day one, which was a great boost to my confidence. It was a great experience actually being able to meet and talk to customers about my business and designs, and to have all the amazing feedback. My confidence grew daily, as did my sales.”
The course has since led to Ms Taylor taking part in a market event at Boxpark Croydon, setting up a new parallel business called Zero Degreez Design and being invited to exhibit at Croydon art gallery Studio Upstairs.
The Pop-Up Business School course is sponsored by Croydon Council, Whitgift and Centrale shopping centres, The Croydon Partnership, Westfield/Hammerson, and Wandle and Optivo housing associations.
“Boosting the local economy is one of this council’s main goals, so I’m pleased we’re once again supporting an initiative that backs Croydon start-ups.
“Last year’s event gave many people the tools and practical tips to help develop their business dreams, so I would urge other budding entrepreneurs to register for this year’s free event.”
Councillor Mark Watson, cabinet member for economy and jobs
For more information about how to sign up, visit the Pop-Up Business School website.