Overcoming the COVID-19 Learning Curve
The next business to be featured in this round of BBB is ABC School of English. ‘ABC School of English’ is an English language school which first opened in 2002.
Co-founders Sue Rao and Bozena Grzelak met whilst working together at a language school on Oxford Street, London. There, they gained a great deal of experience and insight into the workings and running of language schools and one evening, whilst studying for their master’s degrees, they had a “Eureka moment” and decided to open their own school.
They utilised the knowledge from both of their respective subjects, marketing and IT, prepared a marketing strategy and a small website – and the rest is history!
The impact of a pandemic
COVID-19 has impacted many businesses over the past year, and unfortunately the ABC School of English was not spared.
During the first lockdown in March 2020, the school closed in line with government guidance for five months, reopening on September 1st, 2020. Moreover, all fees paid in advance had to be refunded. Since then, the team have had to endure changing government guidance, frequently closing and reopening the school and amending their working practices to provide a safe environment for students and employees.
In May 2020, Sue and Bozena received a newsletter from Camden Council providing information about the Government’s support, guidelines on reopening their business during COVID-19 and the possibility of having free 1-2-1 advice sessions with the London Business Hub, which the team duly followed up.
How we supported the business
The London Business Hub is a business support programme with an aim to support businesses who have not received any business support outside of their own networks, as well as businesses from disadvantaged communities, such as BAME. Newable are delivering this programme in partnership with the Greater London Authority.
The team were appointed a business adviser, Patricia Ashford, who was able to provide them with invaluable support due to her business expertise from decades supporting businesses.
The guidance provided opened up many opportunities, including: applying for a grant from Facebook, attending webinars on different aspects of running a business, including Brexit and its impact on businesses.
The team gained insights on crowdfunding platforms and the Mayor’s resilience fund. Additionally, they researched bidding for/finding public sector contracts, among others.
“We have been extremely privileged to receive support from the London Business Hub, which helped us through arguably the toughest times the business has had to go through since its foundation in 2002.”
ABC School of English Ltd
ABC School of English were successful in securing a grant from Facebook, which will allow the team to make their website responsive and update their current version, which is the foundation of the school’s website.
The team enrolled their staff onto Google workshops recommended by their adviser which allowed them to implement their knowledge in a new SEO strategy; as a result, ABC School of English are currently are on page one on Google ranking for one-to-one private English online lessons.
The team are confident, despite the current unprecedented times due to COVID-19, coupled with the impact of Brexit on the industry that they will come through it stronger and with new projects in the pipeline.
They are currently preparing a teaching training course which will allow them to take on apprentices and support the government’s Kickstart scheme. They hope to provide the apprentices with the qualifications, tools and experience to teach English as a foreign language.
London Business Hub offers free one-to-one support and advice from a team of expert advisers, book an appointment here.