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The Business of Black

Welcome to a monthly series of online, panel-led conversations supporting Black Lives Matter, with a focus on brands, entrepreneurship and business. With these discussions, and a growing online community, we hope to further expand understanding of racial inequality, inspire positive action, and build unity in business and in life.

Continue reading “The Business of Black”

Croydon’s crisis

As a previous Croydon resident, and someone who now invests and develops in Croydon you can only imagine my shock and horror when the announcement fell last week that the Council was on its knees. I asked myself why Croydon invested in so many huge projects with no realistic plan or strategy.  Even as a small developer I have a plan and I stick to it with regular reviews.

On Wednesday, 11th November, Croydon Council issued a Section 114 notice which was essentially a declaration of bankruptcy. They are the only other Council, in the last twenty years, to issue this notice. 

What does a Section 114 notice mean? 

A Section 114 notice means that no new funds can be spent by the Council unless for statutory services and providing aid to vulnerable people. 

It’s no secret that COVID-19 has put a massive financial strain on this country and as a result it has left many Councils in a dire state, struggling to fund local services and also on the edge of bankruptcy. However, a “damning” report put together by Grant Thornton highlights how Croydon’s downfall was largely due to the gross negligence of Croydon’s administration. An article stated that  “The local authority’s former leaders had ignored more than three years of internal warnings about its finances.” After making risky investments and taking out hefty loans with no significant return it is clear that the effects of this pandemic was just the tip of the iceberg. 

The effect on Croydon and its people? 

With mass redundancies on the horizon in a bid to cut costs, there’s no doubt that unemployment is a key aspect that is certain to have a devastating impact on Croydon’s people. Additionally, despite the Council stating that they shall still fund statutory services, Labour’s analysis has shown that the only way they can avoid eating in to the money set aside for social care is by closing down all libraries, children’s centres, leisure centres, turning off all street lights and carrying out no winter gritting and that is just naming some of the things listed. All things considered, it seems very much like a lose-lose situation and the livelihood and general well-being of many individuals is currently hanging in the balance.

The effect on private landlords

Although there currently isn’t any clear-cut information on how all of this will impact landlords that doesn’t necessarily mean that we are in the clear. 

LB Croydon is known to go after developers and landlords to generate income, taxing them heavily on licences for each rental property that other boroughs do not have to pay.  In my opinion they seem to forget that without private rental properties the local authority would be even further on its knees trying to provide housing for those without it. With 250,000 people on local authority housing waiting lists this issue is huge and should not be ignored by any Borough.

As Croydon makes more and more people redundant because of their failure to control spending and not solely because of COVID-19 private landlords will see a steady increase in tenants unable to meet rent payments and further will be unable to evict them at this time.

As a landlord with a social conscience, I see the other side and understand all too well what this will mean to tenants evicted or unable to secure accommodation because they don’t have sufficient savings for deposits and upfront rents. 

Watch this space as Croydon outlines its plan to recover.  

Find the reasons to be cheerful

2020. A year that nobody anticipated. Many of us stepped into the New Year with hopes and aspirations; New Year’s resolutions and big dreams, envisioning all the possibilities of what could be.

However, only two months into the year COVID struck in China. At first many in the UK must have thought, that’s the other side of the world. “That virus ain’t never going to reach here…” Well those probably were famous last words. I recall opening the front door to my daughter who had returned from teaching in China for a week as part of Chinese New Year. I was actually quite put out that she had turned up early unannounced. Who knew that was a reason to be cheerful. The following week would have meant that she would have been locked down with the virus at large in China unable to travel.

This devastating pandemic has no doubt left many feeling dejected and demotivated, with a lot of people probably thinking “What is the point?” especially if they’ve lost loved ones and their livelihood. There is no doubt this year has given us so much to be sad about but I still believe that there is some good within the bad, a silver-lining on these clouds and I think its important, now more than ever, to focus on the things that we can be thankful for. 

This year I decided to employ a young individual under The Apprenticeship Scheme. The government has described apprenticeships as being “More important than ever in helping businesses recruit the right people in order to recover and grow.” I wholeheartedly agree because alongside gaining invaluable skills, an apprenticeship provides individuals with the opportunity to earn while they learn which in turn creates a mutually beneficial relationship between employers and employees. 

The reason why I have decided to write about my new endeavour is because I believe it highlights the fact that even at the very worst, there are always things to be grateful for. My young apprentice, who’s name is Tobi, can surely attest to this; prior to her securing this role she had been feeling very down and discouraged as a result of unemployment and general unhappiness even in her previous job and yet, it was in this same pandemic that she managed to establish a strong sense of direction through deciding what she wanted for herself career-wise. When discussing what she hoped to gain through this apprenticeship Tobi expressed her dreams of one day being a successful Social Media Manager or a Public Relations Officer and the fact that together we are working towards making this dream a reality at a point in time where it seems opportunities are scarce should provide those reading this with a sense of hope and a belief that all is truly not lost. In addition to this, her success in landing this apprenticeship with View From My Window is, to me, quite symbolic of the values held by myself and my brand because helping and uplifting others is at the core of everything we do and being able to provide amazing opportunities to young people like Tobi, especially in a time like this truly fills me with joy. 

Tobi herself commented: “Just two months ago I was lacking direction and dealing with an immense feeling of self-doubt. Fast forward to now and I feel encouraged and optimistic in a way that I truly haven’t felt in a while.”

I just want to reassure those who may be feeling hopeless because of their current circumstances, that although things may look bad now they won’t be bad forever. This year may have hit us with many unexpected difficulties but have faith in the fact that everything meant for you will surely be for you and the effects of this pandemic is just another obstacle that we must overcome and indeed we will.

2020. A year that nobody anticipated. Many of us stepped into the New Year with hopes and aspirations; New Year’s resolutions and big dreams, envisioning all the possibilities of what could be.

However, only two months into the year COVID struck in China. At first many in the UK must have thought, that’s the other side of the world. “That virus ain’t never going to reach here…” Well those probably were famous last words. I recall opening the front door to my daughter who had returned from teaching in China for a week as part of Chinese New Year. I was actually quite put out that she had turned up early unannounced. Who knew that was a reason to be cheerful. The following week would have meant that she would have been locked down with the virus at large in China unable to travel.

This devastating pandemic has no doubt left many feeling dejected and demotivated, with a lot of people probably thinking “What is the point?” especially if they’ve lost loved ones and their livelihood. There is no doubt this year has given us so much to be sad about but I still believe that there is some good within the bad, a silver-lining on these clouds and I think its important, now more than ever, to focus on the things that we can be thankful for. 

This year I decided to employ a young individual under The Apprenticeship Scheme. The government has described apprenticeships as being “More important than ever in helping businesses recruit the right people in order to recover and grow.” I wholeheartedly agree because alongside gaining invaluable skills, an apprenticeship provides individuals with the opportunity to earn while they learn which in turn creates a mutually beneficial relationship between employers and employees. 

The reason why I have decided to write about my new endeavour is because I believe it highlights the fact that even at the very worst, there are always things to be grateful for. My young apprentice, who’s name is Tobi, can surely attest to this; prior to her securing this role she had been feeling very down and discouraged as a result of unemployment and general unhappiness even in her previous job and yet, it was in this same pandemic that she managed to establish a strong sense of direction through deciding what she wanted for herself career-wise. When discussing what she hoped to gain through this apprenticeship Tobi expressed her dreams of one day being a successful Social Media Manager or a Public Relations Officer and the fact that together we are working towards making this dream a reality at a point in time where it seems opportunities are scarce should provide those reading this with a sense of hope and a belief that all is truly not lost. In addition to this, her success in landing this apprenticeship with View From My Window is, to me, quite symbolic of the values held by myself and my brand because helping and uplifting others is at the core of everything we do and being able to provide amazing opportunities to young people like Tobi, especially in a time like this truly fills me with joy. 

Tobi herself commented: “Just two months ago I was lacking direction and dealing with an immense feeling of self-doubt. Fast forward to now and I feel encouraged and optimistic in a way that I truly haven’t felt in a while.”

I just want to reassure those who may be feeling hopeless because of their current circumstances, that although things may look bad now they won’t be bad forever. This year may have hit us with many unexpected difficulties but have faith in the fact that everything meant for you will surely be for you and the effects of this pandemic is just another obstacle that we must overcome and indeed we will.

Covid continues to disproportionally affect minority ethnic communities

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If you do nothing else before Black History Month ends. Read this report.

I feel proud that so many of my black and Asian friends contributed to it. In April @KeirStarmer appointed Baroness Doreen Lawrence as relations adviser to launch a review into the impact on coronavirus on black, Asian and ethnic minorities. The findings are compelling and it is important for us all to understand this impact.

Contributors to the report :

Tom Adeyoola; Do Nation, Verco, Extend Ventures

Shah F. Athar; Curry Connect

Joel Beya; CheekySport

Amarachi Clarke FRSA; Lucocoa Chocolate

Dee Gibson; Velvet Orange

Vanessa Hewitt (she/her); Hewitt Support

Elizabeth Ige; Know Your Worth Ltd

Anisa Morridadi; BeatFreeks

Shazia Mustafa; Third Door

Minal Patel ; Marketing by Minal

Shermeena Rabbi; Unlocking Language

Raphael Sofoluke; UK Black Business Show

@Katarina Stawska Hughes

Grab a cuppa and take 30 mins to have a read and pause.

Spotted: Homes Under the Hammer August 2017 Savills aired last week!

Gosh who knew. Be careful what you wish for. I’ve always wanted to be on Homes under the Hammer little did I know I actually was! There is nowhere to hide in the auction room.  

Fairly new to Property Investment, Delores, my business partner, and I went off to Auction to dabble back in June 2017. We ended up bidding on a flat which we didn’t win – we had been outbid before we even started! See clip below.

As newbies we had no idea someone would go straight in and start the bidding at £25k (for a short lease property) ABOVE guide which totally threw us.  Today we enter the room with far more knowledge of price, experience of the process and gumption and often walk away with what we went for! Having a strategy and doing your research before auction is key. Don’t leave home without it.

It’s funny that even back then we had a thing about garages and I recall that attracted us to this property. One of our themes seems to be garages. They have so much potential on many levels and can support future growth especially now in lockdown.

What’s your property theme?

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