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A friend of mine asked me the other day, “Heather, you must be seeing lots of businesses close, and people not starting new businesses now, because of the pandemic?” I was really quite surprised because the opposite is actually true.

People are amazingly adaptive and responsive to change. Existing SME’s are responding to the new reality of what they can and can’t do during this period and thinking of different ways of utilising the skills and resources they have to maintain productivity. Take the example of Gtech and Dyson. Vacuum cleaners aren’t rolling off their production lines this week, but rather ventilators to equip our NHS with the kit they need. Hotels have had to close their doors to paying guests, but are open to self-isolating key workers.

On a more grass roots level, new entrepreneurs are popping up with ideas to help people during this crisis too. Setting up delivery services for good we didn’t need to be delivered before, creating online resources for our children who can no longer learn in a classroom environment.  Plastics firms are creating new products to meet the surge in demand for things like, real ale delivered directly from your local pub. Plumbers are making videos and offering telephone consultations to customers, talking them through fixing their own taps!

Here at the UoC, our Business Growth team are open for business as usual, albeit via a zoom call. We are all about embracing technology and innovation to drive growth. We are always here to help and support business through this time, to help them build and grow using the ideas, energy and skills they already have at their disposal. It’s like the old adage, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

By Heather Carroll,
Business Development Manager