Croydon Old Town Business Association (COBA) was formed in May 2012. The Committee has been formed of six local business people who volunteer their time to help lobby the local authority, promote and organise events, work with organisations to bring in footfall and work with organisations to increase occupancy and to provide a place for people to work, shop and relax.
In June 2012, Old town Croydon became one of twelve towns which won the Portas Pilot scheme. Out of the £100,000 winning fund, COBA, working with Croydon Council and other local organisations will help to deliver on four main points.
1, Community Space
COBA is exploring with other organisations in creating a Community space where local people can shop, relax and enjoy entertainment. Our first thoughts are to create an outdoor space which can be used for one-off events where locals can enjoy food and stalls while seeing entertainment acts.
2, Education and Support
Working with Youth and Business Organisations, COBA are already talking to a number of partners to provide a space where youth business projects can come and set up. This may be a market stall or joining together to open a store. We as a organisation are also looking at providing help to existing retailers and stall holders in Surrey Street the chance to learn from others who work with people who have experience from working with both small and large retailers.
3, Financial Support
Working with a number of local organisations and the local authority, COBA is setting up a fund for businesses to access funding to help them to set up or run their business. The fund, is not there just to be handed out to those who are requesting it. COBA is looking at the way the fund will work but at present, people can apply to match fund upto a limit which is yet to be determined.