Challenging times can bring out the best in us.
My name’s Jon. I run a startup business created by Barclays called Eagle Labs. We help businesses connect, innovate and ultimately grow and we have 25 business incubators spread across the UK supporting around 500 startups.
This weekend was my first opportunity since COVID-19 reached epidemic status to pause and take stock of what’s happened (to date) and how it unfolded.
I expect most people have their own personal experiences, and perhaps like me, see the last 2-3 weeks as a bit of a blur to say the least.
The increase in the rate of pace of change over the last 3 weeks was quite incredible. Whether you work in a large corporate or run a startup, you’ll have had to consider what it meant to you, your family, colleagues and possibly customers, and maybe all at once. For me at least, it was the first time I’ve had to consider all of these in a leadership role during a period of such uncertainty.
At times it can feel overwhelming. But fortunately I work with a great team who helped me think through what it meant for my colleagues and also our startup members. Having a team who is close to your customer is always important, but even more so during uncertain times. The team were able to help recommend a number of things that we felt could make an immediate difference. For example, where Eagle Labs operationally manage a site, we’ve been able to freeze memberships until the end of May, a position that we will continually review. We’re also shifting all of our programming, support and community engagement onto virtual channels. Meaning the mentoring, accelerator programmes, community events and specialist workshops our members have access to will all continue via things like Zoom, YouTube etc. But we’ll also make them available to everyone across the UK at no charge.
Whilst these are challenging times, I’ve noticed, like many others, how the UK is leaning in to support one another and it’s encouraging to know that when a real challenge arises we can work together to make good things happen.
I was really proud that Eagle Labs were asked to support an initiative with Edinburgh University, UCL and CodeBase to try and identify innovative ways to help the NHS. Through our network we’re trying to make a difference in any way we can.
We’re committed to keep listening and learning and hope that we can find ways in which we can best support you and your businesses to move forward.
Stay safe, and please stay connected.