Former homeless man starts own business
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Communities and also in Housing
A former homeless man who overcame substance misuse issues is about to start his own business.
Anil Parmar battled alcohol and drug addiction for some years before he was helped into a home.
And now thanks to a £500 grant from homelessness charity Broadway, the organisation that helped him off the streets, the 43-year-old is about to start Buzz Bike Hire, an innovative idea that sees electric bikes rented out to London’s tourists and helps reduce their carbon footprint.
It’s been the entrepreneur’s brainchild for a number of years and, thanks to a mentoring and business start-up programme run by the charity Broadway Homelessness and Support, the idea is finally moving forward and is soon to launch.
Broadway's start-up scheme – which sees the charity's clients pitch their business ideas to a panel of its corporate supporters – will run again next week. Business figures who take part invest their own money for no return and also offer advice to the entrepreneurs.
Anil was one of seven wannabe entrepreneurs to take home business start-up money at his round of funding last November.
He said: “The start-up event was fantastic for me and also incredibly energising. It gave me both confidence in my idea and confidence in myself.
“I am already supported by the Broadway business mentoring programme and my mentor has been guiding me. Pitching the idea to these investors and answering their questions showed me that my idea can really work.
“It was more of a brain-storming session in the end and I was given lots of ideas on how to move forward. Receiving a grant to do this is the best thing that could happen at this stage of business planning.
“I’d had this idea in my head for years but I’d never really had the chance to get it off the ground as I had no funds to do so … until Broadway came along.
“I’m very excited about the project and where it’s going to go. I’ve completed short courses part funded by Broadway, I have a business advisor, I’m going to seminars and I’ve got a new life. Thank you Broadway.”
Broadway supports more than 9,500 people a year across London and Oxford through its homelessness and work and learning services.
The charity is looking out for new corporate supporters to offer their expertise in the business start-up programme.
Emma Latham, corporate partnerships manager, said: “Broadway recognises that putting a roof over a person’s head is just the first step to helping them combat the cycle of homelessness.
“Our aim is for our clients to live fully independent lives and the business start-up programme that has supported Anil and many others is one of the exciting ways in which we do this.
“I would ask that anyone who thinks they can offer their expertise and funding to get in touch. In addition to the business start-up programme, we also offer our clients work and learning support to get back into work through a one-to-one mentoring scheme.”