When experienced project director Steve Harbertson lost his job amid the fallout of coronavirus, he turned to a long-held ambition of starting his own business.
Steve, who lives near York, was made redundant in March as the impact of social-distancing measures began to bite. Steve had been working for an established firm offering event production and audio visual expertise – a sector he has been involved in for more than a 15 years.
He said: “I was told I was being made redundant – statutory redundancy for someone who has worked for a company for less than two years meant I was left with no redundancy pay and one week’s notice. It was brutal but understandable given the uncertainty over both future business and government assistance. I enjoyed my time with the company but survival sometimes means that hard decisions must be made.
“I had decided though that this company was going to be the last that I worked for, however that worked out. I have a wife and three sons, so the regular income was welcome, but I had always been ready to start my own business – it’s just happened a little sooner than expected.”
Steve, pictured, was able to quickly establish his new venture, Swift AV Solutions Ltd, which has a list of services for clients including web streaming, video conferencing and audio visual equipment rental / production management for corporate events, award shows and product launches.
He said: “A lot was already in place – I had a website ready to go, for example. I can market myself and lay the groundwork for when business returns to a level of normality. With strategic partners built up over my years in the industry we can offer everything that a large production company does.”
Steve believes there are opportunities for collaboration among smaller businesses.
He said: “I think small businesses will have an edge and I think there’s an opportunity for small and medium-sized business to work together more. If staff are furloughed, for instance, firms could turn to experienced freelancers like myself in certain situations in order to keep their business going.”
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