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About

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What we offer through the Shaking Hands Interactive Partnership is a platform for well-run small-medium businesses in Croydon to communicate, collaborate, and shape the future of good business in Croydon.




Who are we?

Born and bred in Croydon, the Shaking Hands team is comprised of business experts, publishing professionals, and web gurus. All of whom are committed to bringing small-medium businesses in Croydon to the forefront of the UK stage.

Unlike most organisations, Shaking Hands Interactive Partnership is not comprised of management, middle management, and clients. Instead, each of our partners, staff, members and service providers play an intrinsic part in Shaking Hands’ philosophy of building long-term, sustainable business relationships within the borough.

To find out more about the team at Shaking Hands, feel free to browse our website, connect with us on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, or get in touch via our contact page.

What are we about?

Rather than navigating a harsh business world alone, Shaking Hands is providing a platform for small-medium businesses to stay updated, stay in the know (keep out of hot water!), share their expertise, minimise overheads, get well connected locally, and optimise the smooth-running of their business.

How can we do this? Visit ‘The Partnership’ page to find out all of the member benefits that you, the business owner, can enjoy as part of the Shaking Hands Interactive Partnership.




When was Shaking Hands created?

Conceived by Robert O’Sullivan in May 2015, and later remodelled and developed with the help of co-founder Laurence Grant, Shaking Hands launched on January 18 2016 to become what it is today.

Shaking Hands is a project that is constantly being refined, diversified and expanded to cater to the needs of all small-medium businesses in Croydon.

Where are we based?

By offering our services solely in the Croydon area, Shaking Hands is able to concentrate its efforts, events and collaborative projects in one place.

Knowing of Croydon’s potential and constant innovation, Shaking Hands is committed to bringing small-medium businesses in Croydon to the centre of the UK business arena. Exactly where they deserve to be.



Why are we here?

Aside from being the home of the Shaking Hands team, Croydon is one of the biggest, and fastest growing boroughs in the UK. Its tech hub is the most innovative in London; its transport network provides a corridor between London and the South Coast; it has attracted the investments of Westfield, Hammerson, Minerva and many other international property developers; and its culture has spawned some of the most incredible talents and trends in recent history.

For small-medium businesses, Shaking Hands will be a lifeline to keeping you informed on what is happening now, and what is to come. From pension regulations and apprenticeship programmes to billion-pound developments and local breaking-news, small-medium business in Croydon can not afford to remain out of the loop. If you’re a small-medium business owner, forced on to the fringes of a thriving city, we are here to get you back in business.

Why now?

Here is a list of things to come that local small-medium businesses ought to be aware of:

  • Croydon is soon to become London’s biggest metropolitan centre
  • Planning: a £5.25 billion investment programme will come to Croydon over the next 5 years
  • Transport: Equidistant to both central London and Gatwick, only 15 minutes either way.
  • Populous: Within a 30 minute commute of Croydon, there are approximately 1.1million economically active individuals.
  • Around the year 2020, Croydon will host another 9,500 households across the region as a “GLA designated opportunity area”.
  • A new university campus is on the cards, to add to some of the best schools of thought in the UK.
  • BoxPark, the pop up retail centre is due to arrive next to East Croydon station in the coming year. A concept that has been a great success for SMEs in Shoreditch.

For small-medium businesses, much of this news comes as a daunting prospect, with more investment and big business pushing smaller players to the peripheries of Croydon’s growing business hub. But that doesn’t have to be the case.

Shaking Hands will offer small-medium businesses a platform to join together, create stronger ties to the centre, and claim back their well-earned spot in the limelight.

Meet The Team

Una Foster Black and White Una Foster

Una Foster

Client Relationship Captain
Una Foster is our Client Relationship Manager aka the "Head of Sails and Relationships"/ the Relationship Captain.
Loretta Grant Black and White Loretta Grant

Loretta Grant

"Events Captain" aka Events Manager
Loretta is the life and soul of the party, or should we say "Parties".

Whenever it comes to Shaking Hands breakfasts, lunches, dinners, socials, seminars, and even festivals, Loretta is at the centre of it all, making sure every moment you spend with us is a moment to remember!

Whatever the occasion, whether at home, travelling, or at work, Loretta is always on the lookout for ways to unlock people's potential and have a positive impact in the community.
Nicole Brown Black and White Nicole Brown

Nicole Brown

"Comms Captain" aka Marketing Manager

As our Comms Crew, Nicole (or Nic) is the one we have to thank for the content aboard Shaking Hands being in SHIP-shape while all of our members are surfing the website. Even more than that, Nic is the one who lets you know about the news, events, and opportunities that you can't afford to miss.

When Nicole is not being an utter legend at Shaking Hands, she can normally be found coaching Basketball, reading comics, or telling the nearest stranger how much she needs to go to Japan!

Robert O’Sullivan Black and White Robert O’Sullivan

Robert O’Sullivan

"Co-Captain" aka Co-Director

Born in Sutton, I have built my personality around friendship, collaboration and hard work. From practicing MMA to studying Business in Brighton, tackling problems and thinking outside of the box has always been my approach to day-to-day living. With a professional background in sales, finance and management, I co-founded Shaking Hands with the intention of giving back to a place that has given so much to me.

Laurence Grant Black and White Laurence Grant

Laurence Grant

"Co-Captain" aka Co-Director

"How about we call it 'Shaking Hands'?"

I said that in October 2015, back when creating an introduction based business partnership was just a pipe-dream. For someone who loves to imagine; problem-solve; create; build; share; nurture; self-develop, teach and connect others, Shaking Hands was and continues to be the ideal vehicle for me to find fulfilment while helping others succeed.