Meet the entrepreneurs setting up new businesses despite a pandemic

Video report by ITV News Meridian's Mel Bloor

Despite the current economic uncertainty, the pandemic has prompted some people to start up their own businesses. 

The number of new companies being created in the UK soared in the second half of 2020 compared with the year before, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Three of the many new business owners are based in the Thames Valley, including former Reading FC player and manager Mick Gooding.Since hanging up his boots in 2000, Mick has worked for numerous estate agents, but running his own agency is an entirely different ball game.

Mick Gooding has set up Gooding & Co Estate Agents

Mick says: "Everything is just taking a lot longer than I anticipated. Lots of people have been furloughed. Lots of people haven't been there to give you a call back when you're expecting a call back etc.

"I'm now literally out just trying to get my name out there, dropping leaflets through people's doors. It's not easy but I'm at the stage where I'm committed to it and I know for a fact that long term I'll get to where I want to be with it."

In Wokingham, former lighting salesman Phil Edgecombe is also feeling the pressure of starting out on his own.

Phil Edgecombe has set up Phil's Good Food

When the pandemic hit and his work dried up almost overnight, he decided to open his own food shop.

Phil says: "The full lockdown has hit us hard there's no doubt about it. We're probably doing about 20 per cent of what we'd expect to be doing and what we were doing in November so that's the biggest challenge.

"So we've moved online, we have an online shop, we're doing click and collect and we are doing deliveries for people so as much as possible we've tried to adapt."

Adapting to life in a pandemic is something Kevin Douch knows all about.

In December, his part beer-part record store in Oxford was forced to close not long after opening, but the business turned the challenges into opportunities.

Kevin Douch has set up a part beer-part record store in Oxford

Kevin says: "We've launched our website and a local delivery service which we probably wouldn't have got round to until months later, so I think the challenges have actually kind of hopefully made the business better in the long run.

"Fingers crossed we've seen the worst what we're going to and we're just really looking forward to what the Spring and Summer will hopefully bring " 

With leases signed and money already spent, these three business owners can't wait until lockdown ends and they can welcome customers through their doors.