Levi Roots – dragon slayer, reggae star and bestselling cookbook author – officially opened Merton Council’s Business Generator Centre.
Levi also handed over cheques for £500 each to two teams of young entrepreneurs from St Marks Academy and Harris Academy. The enterprising students had won Merton Council’s own dragon’s den competition with their business plans. The teams will now use the cash to take their businesses on to the next stage.
Guitar-playing Levi hit the headlines when he wowed the business dragons from the BBC’s ratings-topping show Dragon’s Den with his plans to market and sell his Reggae Reggae Sauce – a spicy condiment he had been cooking up and selling for years at Brixton Market.
The Generator Business Centre, in Miles Road, Mitcham, offers new and established businesses support so that entrepreneurs do not have to worry about the day-to-day running of an office while they are trying to make their way in the market place and develop and deliver their products.
Technically known as a business incubator, the centre also provides affordable office-space as well as competitive rates for internet connection, video conferencing and portable telephone numbers. Entrepreneurs can even just rent desk space.
Levi’s own experiences as an entrepreneur have meant he is eager to help others succeed in business.
He said: ‘I was delighted to open Merton’s Business Generator Centre. Centres like this are extremely helpful to people just starting up their own companies.
‘There are so many pitfalls you have to navigate. Sometimes managing your offices and sorting things out like the internet and the phone can just take up too much of your time and leave you pulling out your hair because you don’t have the resources to concentrate on getting your new business off the ground.
‘This centre promises to take away all that extra stress so entrepreneurs can simply concentrate on important things like creating their product, marketing it and making contacts in the business world.’
Merton Council’s cabinet member for regeneration, Councillor Diane Neil Mills said: ‘These are very exciting times for Mitcham. Levi Roots – a successful entrepreneur and an inspiration to any one thinking of starting a business – officially opened our Generator Business Centre. Recently we also had the opening of Mitcham Eastfields Station, which has created even closer links with central London.
“New businesses are the economic lifeblood of a community and bring prosperity to the areas where they set up. Through our new Generator Business Centre we can offer entrepreneurs and their businesses the support and head start they need which will help them stand on their own feet and become successes in the business world.”