Small Business Owner Q&A in the Covid-19 Crisis: Accelerator Firm

Can you tell us a little about your business?

Alex Rawlins is a small business owner, who, like many others, has felt the impact of Covid-19. We spoke to her to find out how the business is coping with the current conditions.

Shout About Suffolk was created to support small businesses and entrepreneurs in Suffolk. They offer a unique support programme that focuses on the provision of infrastructure, meaningful mentorship and help in acquiring financial packages, and explain how they are coping with Covid-19.

What are you doing now and where did you get the idea from?

The last few months have shown us how important it is that we provide a sustainable and effective programme that not only gives members access to the means to grow, but also the tools to develop strong foundations and a clear path to growth.

What has the reaction been so far? What’s going well?

Our members often work in isolation or need to execute a broad number of tasks that they are unfamiliar with. This is even more true now so many are under extra pressure as the result of the coronavirus.

In response, we have placed greater emphasis on our wellbeing and guidance offering which include regular formal and informal chats and events that allow members to problem solve and share what they wish to. Before, these were held on our premises, so we have switched to using inline platforms to keep us connected.

As a result, we are able to deliver honest advice, share information relevant to small business support and ensure no-one is isolated while they are isolating.

We have also re-designed our space for hire so it is more flexible and suited to the needs of small businesses who will need to re-start their efforts once we are allowed back to work.

What type of insurance do you have and did you need to change it?

We have all the required insurance packages available for our site and activities. However, a number of our members have very specific requirements, from kit cover (mobile photographers or videographers) to export cover for goods. As our members' businesses change, it’s very likely their insurance requirements will need to be adjusted to safeguard them against any future challenges that disrupt their ability to work.

How important is having insurance to you?

It’s critical – we cannot operate as a business and support as many other businesses as we do without it.

What are you most looking forward to when we are over Covid-19?

Getting back together with our members, face to face! It will be great to get back into our innovation room for planning sessions to create a path forward to restart their efforts, help them grow and ensure they thrive.

It will also be very exciting to see what adaptations they have made and what changes they will make permanent. For many businesses, it has been a true test of their ability to innovate and adapt. 

Help for businesses during the Covid-19 outbreak

If you want support with your business at this challenging time, read useful articles in our coronavirus information hub.

What was your business before Covid-19 and how was it impacted?

It was in essence an accelerator firm that used internal skills to ensure we could grow established businesses which in turn allowed us to offer a limited number of free office spaces to individuals in Suffolk.