Surviving Covid-19: A Start-up Tale of Hope

Member News

I’m Andrew Rozzier and I moved to Northamptonshire in 2001 when, as a Business Link Adviser within the Chamber. Even though, like most people, I eventually moved on to pastures new, I stayed in the county but worked in various interim and permanent roles plodding on like most of us do, including back to the Chamber in 2014 as part of Velocity Growth Hub.

All was typical and boring until in October 2021 I caught Covid-19 and, to be frank, it nearly killed me. I was in ICU on a ventilator with an extremely poor prognosis and, with little change of survival, was placed on a drugs trial as a last hope. I was lucky: of six of us in the immediate trial only two of us survived. A steroid based treatment caused me to balloon, and I suffered from extreme Long Covid, but almost twelve months to the day and after a period of reflection I stated a new business.

I thought that having told people how to run theirs for years as a business adviser or Chief Information Technology Officer, it was time to practice what I preach, so at the tender age of fifty-two I leapt about the Start-up Express.

I still do what I’ve always done, but I’ve changed the model: I’m a fractional IT consultant and non-executive director helping mid-market businesses with business growth through digital transformation.

Whilst the stresses and strains of professional life still exist, they’re different: my work life balance has improved, my net income is less than it has been for years but I’m happier than I’ve been for years.

I set myself a goal, one of those peculiar ones you do that are meaningless to others, but a big, personal milestone to you: I wanted to rent office space within six months of starting if the business could sustain it. I moved into East Northamptonshire Enterprise Centre after four months.
It’s odd what life throws in your way as you meander towards the end, but had you asked me what would I be doing in two years’ time in 2020, starting again after a life changing experience would not be it!

I would encourage everyone to grasp every opportunity and not let the fear of the unknown hold you back: if I can start again, so can you!

By Andrew Rozzier BEng MBCS MIIM,

Andrew Rozzier is CEO of Bentlebury, a Digital Transformation consultancy based in Northamptonshire. A former Business Link and Velocity Growth Hub adviser, Andrew has also been a director of multiple businesses in many sectors leading on data and technology best practice to facilitate business growth.