Kettle warms the crowd at Start-Up Central

26th June 2020

The experience of the owner of a chain of milkshake outlets during the pandemic gave encouragement to some 200 budding entrepreneurs and small business owners at the annual Start-Up Central event held by Work Avenue and Google’s Digital Garage.

The record number of delegates enjoyed sessions delivered via You-Tube and Zoom. Many spoke of how they were using the lockdown to start a new enterprise or revamp an existing one. Others sought advice on make it through this challenging economic period.

The keynote speaker was Josh Kettle, CEO and co-founder of Shaketastic, who explained how rapid changes to the firm’s business model had actually helped it to grow over the past few months. Mr Kettle — whose stores and franchises are in locations from Hamleys to Qatar — said he quickly realised that he needed to “change a lot of things. “Where there are disasters, there are also upsides and I genuinely enjoyed this time to sit back and reflect, away from the daily operational stresses and morning mayhem of the stores. “We first reopened as ‘delivery only’ hubs. Now many stores are back up and running as socially distanced takeaways. “Yesterday we put on our first socially distanced outdoor event with a popup stall and an 18-foot inflatable m milkshake. “We’ve been very lucky to be in a business where you can adapt like this. Most of the record days, weeks and months of our 11 years in business have come during lockdown.” He urged those now thinking of starting or changing a business to go for it. “If you’ve got an idea that you honestly believe in, then now is the time to make it happen. If you never do it, then you will never know.”

Work Avenue CEO Debbie Sheldon said: “Start-Up Central is always very popular but has proved even more so at this time when people are considering their future incomes. “Existing businesses are asking how they can diversify to cope with post lockdown times, as well as the new normal of social distancing and other restrictions. “Many are also seizing the opportunity to test business ideas they have always dreamed about but never had the impetus to try.”