The effect of COVID-19 on some Startups in London

We can all agree that London is a melting pot of diverse cultures, rich talent pools, and innovative working spaces and generally an exciting place to live and work. It is a great place for startups to thrive. Due to the influx of technology, and tech companies, with easier funding access, and such a vast pool of skilled staff available, starting a new business is more attainable than ever before. 

London hosts huge international brands which makes it better for startups to build their image and has been the number 1 destination for attracting overseas investments for several years. 

Recently, London’s business sector was challenged to the core when the Corona Virus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic began to threaten people’s health.  Startups around the world have struggled with this pandemic and with no clear exit date, or date that a vaccine is available, the struggle could continue for many more months to come. 

  • Government Support – during the second quarter of 2020, the UK government announced their plans for startups to stay afloat amidst the pandemic. Wherein a £250mn fund would be made available to companies ranging from £125,000 to £5m (subject to equal funding from private investors). 

Of course, there are also other loans offered to companies from banks and the government during this pandemic as business income becomes unstable. Moving forward, there are challenges faced by startups in London. No matter if you are an investor or a potential entrepreneur, it is important to know how the place copes with the global problem:

  1. Startups renegotiated their Coworking Space memberships.
  1. Online advertising of business was reduced
  1. Employees were temporarily laid off or furloughed

As part of the on-going efforts of the government officials to slow down the spread of the virus has led to minimal operations and business services which is a big challenge for businesses and their employees. Alongside, transportation in the city being affected as health protocols need to be followed, this caused a huge adjustment for commuters and to the transportation service providers. Aviation, rail, and even ferry services (which the UK is heavily dependent on) were inclined towards essential journeys only. The Department for Transportation (DfT) encouraged people to travel in other ways that don’t require too much crowd exposure to reduce the risk of being infected by the virus. With all transportation services, the passenger capacity is limited in a way that promotes social distancing during the pandemic and passengers are not allowed to start a journey without the compulsory use of face shields and masks. 

When it comes to leisure and relaxation in London, there is a huge choice of pubs and restaurants. When the COVID-19 outbreak began, only essential stores were permitted to have uninterrupted operations. But in London, pubs and restaurants remain open. Is it safe? 

By following Covid-secure guidelines, these places are allowed to continue to operate as long as social distancing is maintained, the number of customers is limited, records of customers are kept for a period of 21 days, in order to assist NHS Test and Trace efforts to identify clusters or outbreaks. Yet, things are not the same as it was before for the entertainment service providers. Hosted live performances are prohibited and large groups or parties are not allowed. Pubs and restaurants must follow the same rules of assigning a single member of staff per table and promote the use of contactless ordering from tables, contactless payments and offer a take away option to stay in business. If curfews are not maintained, then business licences could be lost, or restricted.

Times are changing, protocols being amended, but we will prevail, and London will grow again.

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