Posted: Mon 22nd Aug 2022
Enterprise Nation is on a mission to take the loneliness out of entrepreneurship. Through our online local meet-ups, we're offering a ready-made support network to small business owners across the UK and Ireland.
These monthly meet-ups wouldn’t exist without our army of Local Leaders; amazing individuals who are passionate about supporting small businesses, and are committed to their local communities.
Here, we meet Paul Shaw, your South West London Local Leader.
Paul, tell us a little bit about yourself.
I'm a business coach, consultant and mentor. I've been running my business, Mercatus Consulting, since 2012, although I've only been focusing on the SME sector for the past five years.
My aim is to improve the lives of small business owners by helping them build healthier, happier, more efficient and more profitable businesses. My specialism is business planning and strategy and I love to get under the skin of a business to really understand what makes it tick.
What inspired you to become an Enterprise Nation Local Leader?
I'd been a member of Enterprise Nation for a few months when COVID struck. The local meet-ups programme seemed like a great way of getting to know local business owners and to understand some of the challenges and uncertainties that they were facing at the time.
I volunteered to become a Local Leader to do what I could to help local business owners. Helping out with information and advice on the support available to SMEs and sharing ways of navigating the ever-changing regulations became a big feature of meet-ups at the time.
Tell us about the small business scene in and around South West London.
South West London is home to a really vibrant business community. People here have a huge range of skills and talents and that is reflected by the sheer volume and diversity of SMEs and start-ups in the area.
I never fail to be impressed by the passion, enthusiasm, agility and tenacity of local business owners – as was particularly evidenced during lockdown.
What challenges are businesses in your area facing?
Similar challenges to many other areas, I would imagine. Rising energy costs, inflation, the cost-of-living crisis, finding good people at affordable rates – all play their part in creating a difficult business environment.
Many start-ups I speak to find it hard to access support from local or central government, and it's often the subject of discussion at local meet-ups. Another popular subject is the adjustment from remote working back to in-person business – and all the steps in between.
Everyone welcomes the return to some kind of normality after COVID, but transitioning back can cause some challenges, particularly for businesses that were founded during lockdown.
We love celebrating the 'small wins' of the Enterprise Nation community. Tell us about two small business success stories you've heard recently.
One of our meet-up regulars, Andy, has a business that runs school clubs to help children learn programming, engineering and design skills by teaching them to build working robots using Lego!
Not only is it a fabulous idea but it's really taken off. With bookings going through the roof, he's just taken on his first member of staff to help manage the demand!
Nehal has just launched her own virtual assistant business after a career in law. She took the plunge during lockdown and it's going from strength to strength.
Why should small business owners in and around South West London consider joining your monthly meet-up?
It's a great place to connect with other like-minded business owners. A 'safe space' if you like. Somewhere to share challenges and successes with people who really appreciate what it's like to go through what you’re going through and who can offer support and practical advice as you develop your business.
Small business local meet-ups with Enterprise Nation
Local meet-ups take place every month. Find your nearest and reserve your place