Meet the business startups bucking the economic trend

  • Watch Graham Stothard's report

It might seem like a risky time to set up a business, but as lockdown hit more and more people made the decision to fund their own startup.

McAuleys bakery in Kettering is trading for the first time today (Thursday 5th August). James McAuley is one of many people for whom lockdown bought huge change. He decided to change career - from electrician to deli owner - and he faced more of an uphill struggle than most.

He said: "When I signed the lease on this place I was diagnosed with throat cancer which was obviously a bit of a shocker. The question was do I give up on the dream and fight the cancer, or do I carry on and hope for the best. So that's what I did."

The bakery was busy on the first day Credit: ITV News Anglia

Despite all the difficulties, business here today is booming.

According to new figures, 1.5 million Brits plan to start their own business in the next 12 months. That goes up to 2.6 million by 2023. It's clear that there's a big appetite for small business.

Sherrie Pope used to be a lawyer, she retrained as a beautician now she's dabbling in catering. For her, the work life balance benefits involved in being your own boss spurred her decisions.

She said: "Working in law - it's such demanding hours, working early, working through lunch, going in at weekends and it just wasn't fair on my children. I wanted to be in a position where if I wanted to go to a school play or school sports day, I wouldn't have to ask permission."

Sherrie Pope gave up her career as a lawyer Credit: ITV News Anglia

Small businesses are the lifeblood of communities. The courage to set one up is often repaid in kindness, and cold hard cash.

Back in Kettering, James is delighted with the reception he's received on his first day as a business owner.

"It's been fantastic, everyone's been really friendly despite the chaos of the first day. It's a local community place, it's been so lovely, and that's exactly what I dreamed of, so hopefully it'll carry on like that."

James and Sherrie are just a few of the people putting hard work, grit and determination into every second of their startup story.