We Have Gone From £140,000 A Year To Nothing


We Have Gone From £140,000 A Year To Nothing

We don’t want the business to fail, we’ve worked really hard and we love it,” says Emma Gregory, who – together with Caroline Wakil – has built Urbanberry into a £140,000-a-year business.

But since the coronavirus outbreak, all the interviews set up by the fledging travel recruitment firm have been cancelled.

“This is devastating for us, it means no income indefinitely and all the people we love helping are losing their jobs and we have nothing to offer them,” Emma told the BBC.

They are just one of the millions of small firms trying to survive the coronavirus pandemic.

Many industries are suffering due to the impact of social distancing and self-isolation, with the travel industry being one of the hardest hit.

Emma and Caroline started their specialist firm in October 2017 with the aim of creating a business that also enabled them to have a life.

But, despite splitting the working week to make time for family Ms Gregory says they never have a day off.

“We basically do anything to try to build our business.”

Future in doubt

Emma and Caroline worry that the future of that business is in doubt as a result of firms putting a freeze on hiring amid uncertainty over the coronavirus pandemic.

They hope the government will step in to help small businesses through the crisis.

We don’t have the resources or additional revenue streams that a larger business will have and for us, a delay in paying corporation tax bills that are due in July would be beneficial,” Emma says.

“Temporary help with childcare costs to enable us to keep ploughing away at recovering our business and not have to withdraw our children from coveted nursery spots – which would then impact the childcare provider themselves – would also be hugely appreciated.”

‘Increasingly bleak’ prospects

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) chair Mike Cherry told the BBC: “Many will feel like they are being made to choose between their health and the very survival of their business. Nobody should have to make this choice

These are already very difficult times for all small businesses right across the country. There are huge concerns over supply chains, while on top of this footfall continues to drop. The prospect for these businesses over the coming weeks is increasingly bleak.

“The self-employed in particular will be worried about their livelihoods if they lose contracts or must go into self-isolation,” he said.


“It’s critical that the necessary support is in place to support the 5.8 million small businesses and self-employed

The leisure and hospitality industry has also been calling for help after Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged everyone to avoid unnecessary social contact and to stay away from pubs and restaurants.


Even before the prime minister’s announcement, restaurant reservation app OpenTable had reported a 31% UK-wide drop in bookings compared to the same period in 2019.

We Have Gone From £140,000 A Year To Nothing


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