Merton Is The Place To Do Business

Local events celebrate work of entrepreneurs

More than 50 business leaders attended an audience in Wimbledon with Denise Elphick, founder of two tech businesses as part of Merton Chamber of Commerce’s celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week.

Using an interview style approach, Chamber Chief Executive Diana Sterck, talked to Denise about the successes and challenges of running two online businesses – firstly Top Table and then Pets Pyjamas.

Top Table was launched in 1999 and sold just 11 years later for £35 million, as one of the biggest restaurant booking services in Europe.

Just one year later Denise set up Pets Pyjamas, another on line business, providing a single portal for everything to do with pets, including clothing, toys, pet friendly hotels and restaurants and diversifying into more services, all related to our love for our pets!

Denise stressed the importance of getting the right tone in all business communications and really getting to grips with what the customer wants. Answering many questions, she summarized that her business success was down to getting finance in place, tenacity and negotiation with suppliers and partnerships that extend the reach into other communication channels, providing a win/win for all concerned.

Part of the Chamber of Commerce’s new Leadership series, sponsored by local firm of chartered accountants, Hartley Fowler, Diana Sterck said: "We want to bring inspirational business leaders, information and advice to local businesses. Working with Merton Council, businesses can receive this through the Merton Business Support Service."

For further information or details about future events, please contact the business helpdesk on 0208619 0700 or email

In the same week, Merton Council, working with Merton Chamber of Commerce, has just been awarded the accolade of best programme of support for small businesses from London Councils and the Federation of Small Businesses and on November 18, more than 20 start-up businesses received certificates of achievement at a celebration event.

The event took place at the Holiday Inn Express in Colliers Wood and was part of Merton Chamber of Commerce’s events in support of Global Entrepreneurship Week.

Kevan Dunne, Merton Chamber of Commerce Business Adviser said: "We are proud to be part of Global Entrepreneurship week 2015, to celebrate and support small businesses that form the backbone of the local economy and job creation."

The Merton Business Support Service has been running for two years and is financially supported by the London Borough of Merton and delivered by Merton Chamber of Commerce. In those two years 1,100 enquiries have been handled by the Helpdesk and more than 170 business start ups supported, creating nearly 400 jobs.

Businesses speaking at the event included Thom Kirby, hairdresser in Wimbledon Park, Melina Hamilton, ballroom dance tutor, who gave a live performance and said that the event was a "very friendly and supportive environment", Yannick Fansi who has set up a mail order handbag business and Joe Quinn, who has set up a window cleaning business in Mitcham.

Stephen Alambritis, Leader of Merton Council presented the certificates of achievement to the businesses attending and said: "Start up businesses here tonight show that entrepreneurship in Merton is live and kicking, with many different types of businesses being set up by all sectors of our community across our wonderful borough".

November 25, 2015