'Business heroes' reach 100 days of COVID support

A business membership service has reached its 100th business-focused daily update video bulletin this week whilst simultaneously helping thousands of businesses everyday with a range of innovative and quirky free services.

KuKu Connect, which has had its leaders named business heroes, has helped in excess of 30,000 businesses and charities from across Leicestershire and Rutland. They've helped keep organisations going and raise vital funds for charities during Covid-19, with KuKu still here supporting businesses and community organisations for free.

Stephen Goddard and Philip Brooks-Stephenson, young entrepreneurs and KuKu Connect Co-Founders, have not only provided their daily Carry On KuKu bulletins, they have set-up social media groups. They have also offered social media support and promoted the news of other organisations.

Their efforts have helped organisations to keep connecting through daily business tips, offers and other opportunities and events.

On their forthcoming 100th milestone, Stephen said: “During Covied-19, businesses have clearly not been able to physically meet up and network but at KuKu Connect we felt that it was vital to keep businesses talking and connecting. To that end we immediately began offering free support to any business or charity, not just our members, using the power of digital connecting and our audience platforms to help all businesses during this time of crisis.

“To date, we have connected thousands of businesses and whist our own business is on pause, we made the decision to stop KuKu Connect Membership payments to support those experiencing financial hardship.

"We are delighted to be able to help other businesses still do business, make connections and develop relationships. Part of our activity has been our Carry on KuKu daily video bulletins and we are thrilled to be about to reach the 100 mark with our daily episodes.

"There have been so many examples of success for businesses and the feedback and praise from other organisations has been a real motivator for us.”

The Carry on KuKu daily video bulletin offers viewers business tips and advice as well as promoting different organisations whilst giving shout-outs for businesses and charities who are supporting each other and/or the NHS.

Each morning Stephen and Philip get dressed up to record and broadcast a positive news style broadcast from their kitchen, turned mini studio, sipping away at tea in china tea-cups or with a cheeky cocktail.

Philip added: “We do have some fun with it too, of course. We choose a daily song with which to keep up motivation and positivity and our catch phrase for the Carry on KuKu bulletins is ‘Carry on Going, Carry on Smiling and Carry on Connecting’.

"I think it’s fair to say that we’ve taken our inspiration from both the Great British spirit of pulling together and the Carry On films so a little bit of humour mixed into our bulletins seemed only right.”

The KuKu Cocktail Hour free virtual networking event run via Facebook has been another hugely popular, effective and free service, where Stephen and Philip dressed in black tie present a virtual networking event.

The cocktail hour is different to any other networking event online with one business networker commenting it was ‘almost as good as GoggleBox'. Others remarked on KuKu’s service and impact as heroic, selfless, inspirational, offering a vital life-line to many businesses.

From securing sponsorship for a football club, to taking part in the Royal Ascot NHS fundraiser, KuKu has been highlighting struggling charities, promoting brands such as Lexus and Disney World, through to local micro-businesses that began their enterprises as lockdown was announced.

Philip commented: “It has been amazing to see in the region of nearly 5,000 viewers on just one of the cocktail hour events, with businesses connecting in from as far as Wales, Ireland, the US, France and Italy. This is brilliant exposure for all the great organisations we have freely supported and promoted within each of the cocktail hour events."

Using their shout-out service, KuKu has also helped to raise over £1,500 for the NHS, which was used to donate over 1,500 PPE visors to nursing and care homes.

Stephen added: “Dean from DW Signature Designs contacted us after hearing about our Carry on KuKu daily video bulletins and asked if we would help him fundraise for the NHS. Of course we said ‘yes’ immediately and set about sharing his fundraising idea across our membership and non-members alike. The response was phenomenal and we are very, very grateful to everyone who took part.”

Dean Williams from DW Signature Designs in Leicestershire said: “If it wasn't for going on the free KuKu Connect cocktail hour networking event which was set-up for businesses to help them through the pandemic I wouldn’t have had my orders grow. Through KuKu Connect I met Harmi from Pathway Group and I have now been able to manufacture over 1,500 visors for NHS staff, care homes and key workers, which have gone out across the Midlands."

David Pearson, Director at East Midlands Chamber of Commerce said: “KuKu Connect has done a great job and have worked alongside the Chambers of Commerce in raising opportunities for business people.”

Ninder Johal, DL - founder Nachural Entrepreneurship & Signature Awards & West Midlands Growth Company Board said, “KuKu Connect are one of the key networking organisations in Leicestershire and wider Midlands, so it is no surprise that they have put all their efforts into supporting the business sector and wider community, as that is in the DNA of what KuKu is all about. Without any hesitation they took to helping and saving businesses, even before lockdown with no thought to their own survival. They have set-up innovative and engaging services which are both filled with positivity, advice and opportunity, which has been effective in continuing business activity for thousands of businesses who taken up the support KuKu Connect has given freely.

Many businesses have been resilient but few have put others needs before their own and there only a few organisations like KuKu who have wholly focused on supporting other businesses. KuKu Connect is a shining example of selfless service to other businesses and community organisations and I applaud the massive, positive impact they have had and for so many."