StartUp Croydon's Free Business Advice Day attracted more than 100 budding entrepreneurs keen to get expert advice and information on how best to establish their new enterprise.
Held in StartUp Croydon's Weatherill House Business Advice Centre, the busy event faciliated by White Label offered expert-led workshops, speed-networking sessions and one-to-one advice on business support, funding opportunities and HR issues.
The well-attended workshops covered everything from legal advice and marketing tips, to protecting against cyber-crime and how to get the most from business networking.
Praising the initiative, Croydon Cllr Mark Watson, cabinet member for jobs and the economy, told delegates: "Often people have good ideas but they need help turning these ideas into a reality – coming along today can really enable them to take the first step."
He also revealed the council had plans in the pipeline to support small businesses.
"One of our priorities in Croydon is to make sure we support small businesses and create an environment that helps them set up and grow. Because without a thriving small business community here in Croydon, we just become a suburb.
"We are currently looking at how to remove barriers facing small businesses in Croydon and what we can do to help them. I hope to launch an initiative on this in the next six weeks. I would also like to hear what your experiences are, because we want to ensure small businesses have the opportunity to grow and thrive in Croydon."
Business Advice Day delegates enjoyed a free lunch and numerous opportunities to network on the day, took part in a free prize draw. The winner of the first prize – a month co-working at Launch Pad in the business advice centre and a bottle of champagne – Jolanta Picridas, said the day has been an inspiration.
"I never win anything, so this is great – a good sign for the future, as I am literally just at the start of setting up in business," said Jolanta, who has a background in marketing and graphic design. "I have a couple of ideas but I am not sure yet what direction to go in, so all the advice I got today was really helpful. It was really interesting going to all the workshop sessions. I particularly liked the accountancy and legal advice, which was clear and easy to follow. I am now thinking of coming back for the StartUp introductory three-day course."
StartUp Croydon offers a range of services to start-up and fledgling businesses, including events, training and advice sessions. It also offers new and existing entrepreneurs a wraparound portfolio of services including virtual office facilities, high specification co-working space and high quality and affordable office accommodation.
Chairman of StartUp Croydon, David Robinson commented: "There is no doubt if you come to an organisation like us, there is more chance of your organisation succeeding than if you try to do it all on your own. We can definitely help you."
StartUp Croydon has helped over 10,000 new businesses launch and grow over the last 30 years, initially as Croydon Business Venture. Since its inaugural business day in March 2014, it's business advice and networking sessions have proved popular with both new and established businesses alike.