Meet the entrepreneurs who’ve set up their own businesses after coronavirus left them jobless

WHEN the coronavirus crisis hit the UK, mountain tour guide Oliver Loveday lost his income overnight like millions of other workers.

The 39-year-old suddenly had no money coming in – and to make matters worse he wasn’t eligible for government help after recently returning to the UK after living in France for 10 years.

Oliver, who lives in East Sussex, is one of the hundreds of people who have started a new business in lockdown. 

Initially he worked as an Asda delivery driver but quickly noticed that his friends were struggling to get food delivered. 

He set up a food delivery service – Ashdown Organics – to help farm shops, bakeries and florists which are still open for takeaways to deliver in his local area. 

The entrepreneur now delivers 70 food boxes a week across East Sussex. 

He told The Sun: “I’ve literally started everything from scratch and I do everything myself – from packing the boxes in my garden, doing the invoices, marketing and delivering.

“It was tough at first but I was lucky I was able to find something.” 

“I’d always thought working in food would suit me but I’d never wanted to work in a kitchen.

“For me, lockdown was a matter of perspective – if you don’t look, you won’t see the opportunities.”

Customers can purchase food boxes from Ashdown Organics online.

They range in price from £20 to £45, with the cheapest box containing a minimum of eight different type of fruit and vegetables – although customers don’t get to choose what they get.

Top tips for starting your own business

THERE'S a lot to consider if you're thinking about starting your own business.

From coming up with the perfect money-making idea, to the legalities that come with getting set up, you'll want to make sure you've covered your bases before taking the plunge.

Alan Thomas, UK CEO at Simply Business, shared his top tips for starting a business with The Sun.

Know your customer inside-out: Knowing your audience is crucial. Start by asking yourself if your idea could help make their life simpler, or fill a gap that competitors currently aren't. Testing your product or service and iterating based on feedback is a great way to ensure you’re building what’s right for your customer. Doing this early, before investing too heavily, can help to validate your business idea and save a lot of money in the process.

Sort your legalities: Make sure you’re on the right side of any rules, regulations, and legalities. Registering your business with HMRC should be a priority and it will inform how much tax you need to
pay. You can do this online at You’ll also need to decide on the structure of your company (sole trader, limited company or a partnership). Legally you may also require business insurance, such as public or employers’ liability insurance. A public liability policy protects against damage to third party property or individuals, whereas employers’ liability is a necessity if you have staff.

Create the perfect marketing plan: This is where websites and social media come into play.Consider what platforms work for your business and go from there. You don’t need a presence on all of them. Also, don’t ignore the power of flyers, local PR, and good old word of mouth.

Give yourself a period of transition and reflection:It’s easy to get caught up in the pace of starting up, but it’s important to dedicate time
for reflection and analysis. Look at what’s worked well and what could have gone better. Once you’re through month one, block out some time to look through your sales.

Almost five new online businesses were started every day during the peak of the coronavirus lockdown, according to – an increase of 60 per cent. 

But coronavirus has seen smaller businesses struggle to stay afloat, with nine million workers on furlough and one million people having claimed self-employed grants. 

The second self-employed income support scheme (SEISS) grant went live this morning – although thousands of workers were left confused over exactly when they can apply.

It comes after unemployment since March jumped to 730,000 after another 114,000 Brits lost their jobs last month.

Entrepreneurship has always been at the heart of the UK, and pivoting your skills or business to make cash during this time is exactly what will help the economy bounce back. 

We are highlighting these stories as part of our Bounce Back Britain campaign as we want people, communities and businesses back on their feet. 

Freelance documentary maker Gemma Perlin, 29, from London has always wanted to set up her own business as a behavioural change coach. 

In January this year she graduated from the NLP School in Camden, London, with a qualification in Neuro Linguistic Programming but had been worried about taking the plunge. 

When coronavirus hit the TV industry was shut down and she saw it as the perfect opportunity to launch her own website,, and start to take on clients. 

NLP is a type of behavioural technique which is used to change someone’s thoughts and patterns to help them achieve desired goals. 

For Gemma, she says NLP help her re-frame how she viewed an autoimmune condition and chronic bladder infections.

Bounce Back Britain

IT’S high time Britain bounced back from lockdown — and The Sun aims to help you lead the way.

With shops reopening, sport relaunching and families joyfully reuniting, our major new Bounce Back Britain campaign intends to put people, communities and businesses back on their feet.

Check out how we're doing it here.

She told The Sun: "So much of the TV industry has been destroyed by coronavirus.

"I haven’t been able to get work during lockdown so this has given me the space to set this up.

"I would never have got everything going if it wasn’t for coronavirus."

“I’ve suffered with chronic pain over the last few years and NLP changed my life.” 

Gemma is now looking to set up a treatment room in her home for when she can see clients face to face.

She also plans to keep working part-time in TV.

David and Alice Deanie, 34 and 33, from Manchester, have also used their time in lockdown to launch their business – four years after first coming up with an idea.

The pair have finally been able to set up The Box, which is a series of puzzles and games.

David, a magician, created their first prototype in 2016 for patients at The Christie Oncology Hospital.

But after being furloughed, he was able to devote more time to the start-up, which he co-founded with retired nurse Alice.

The couple, who’ve been juggling their start-up alongside parenting four children, now have thousands of The Box made and ready to sell.

Customers can choose to buy one for themselves, while also donating The Box to a hospital of their choice.

The Box is in around 13 hospitals already and can be purchased online.

Alice said: “For years, David has been doing things to make people laugh and have fun together.

“It’s too easy to give kids a phone, so we wanted to make something where families can engage together.”

David added: “We’ve been planning this for about four years but now we’re set up and ready to go.

“Now we want to make this a full-time business and to get The Box in shops as soon as possible.

“We’ve got four kids, so it’s been a juggling act with Alice and I taking it in turns to work on The Box and look after the children.”

The Sun has been going behind the scenes of big businesses to see how they're bouncing back from coronavirus.

From gyms to a game of bowling, we've looked at how things will be different post-lockdown.

We've also checked out all the changes in Intu shopping centres and Greene King pubs.

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