Brockley business pays it forward

True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.
- Kurt Vonnegut

As we mentioned, there is another aspect of the Choki of Brockley story which is worthy of its own thread.

Choki of Brockley is run by two young entrepreneurs, who were blessed with passion and expertise but little capital. We hope their business will grow to become very successful, creating local jobs and adding to the vitality of daily life in our area. Lewisham Council has for a long time identified attracting more companies to the area as a key challenge for Brockley's development.

So why did they end up being Choki of Brockley, rather than Choki of Penge?

Firstly, the Goldsmiths connection brought them here. Rowan is still a student there and moved to Brockley to be near the college.

Secondly, they told us that Brockley’s collection of great independent businesses helped inspire them to quit their jobs and go it alone.

Thirdly, the “neighbourly” nature of Brockley made them want to root their product and brand in the area.

Fourthly, they were supported by other businesses in the area. Not only was the Shop on the Hill quick to give their products a chance, but Ross from Brown’s of Brockley lets them use his kitchen to make their chocolate. They didn’t know Ross until they knocked on his door to ask a favour. It’s a tribute to his generosity that they’re now in business.

And this isn’t a unique case.

You can trace the threads of co-operation between local enterprises from Jam Circus to Brown’s of Brockley to The Shop on the Hill and Tea Leaf Arts to the Broca. By the end of our interview last night, Ed from The Orchard had had an impromptu meeting with the Choki team about whether he could sell their wares.

What Brockley businesses are demonstrating is that entrepreneurialism is entirely compatible with a strong community ethic and that the best businesses are also the ones most likely to give something back.

Brockley’s community of entrepreneurs is strong and growing, swelled by talent coming from places like Goldsmiths and Lewisham College. We are very lucky to have them. They will have as big an influence on the future of Brockley as the East London Line.