Evidence suggests that new businesses are most vulnerable in their first two years of existence. The Whatifgroup has passed that milestone and things are looking extremely positive. We are more than halfway through our third year with strong optimism and growing confidence. We are therefore looking to diversify the team.

The biggest challenge has been whether we focus on opportunities that come our way or on our core mission. We seek to ensure that all we do has a golden thread running through it, to ensure that those projects we work on contribute to their communities and are fully cognisant of ESG and adding value. Wherever possible we want to contribute to local regeneration objectives. We are strongly committed to public private partnerships which are based on equally sharing risk and reward.

The world around us.

2022 and early 2023 have seen some clearing of the fog that the Covid Pandemic caused. That is not to say that the UK is in a better place. There are some huge challenges: –

  1. Outside the core cities – Town Centres and Shopping Centres are clearly still struggling to attract new occupiers. Property owners are invariably under water and looking for longer term solutions. There is probably less focus on seeking meanwhile uses and an acceptance that there is a need for diversification. The Government is recognising that demolition is often not a ‘sustainable’ option. We applaud that.
  2. The house building industry is jittery, despite the Government incentives and pressure to build more. With rising mortgage interest rates, it’s a tough market.
  3. Strategic leisure – there is much reporting on some of the pressures on the hospitality industry with rising costs / skills shortages etc.  
  4. The Government is struggling to deliver on its levelling up agenda; due to the fiscal  challenges Whitehall faces. Many local authorities are clearly find it challenging to get their ambitions for their High Streets etc delivered.
  5. The local authority sector is struggling with the various budget pressures, including the increased costs of social care and children’s services.

But…it’s not all bleak, there are many fantastic opportunities happening:

  1. Our core cities have bounced back and are proving attractive propositions for investment. They are vibrant places to be.
  2. The Government is incentivising new house building and there are particularly strong opportunities in the social sector and addressing housing needs.
  3. There is strong growth on immersive leisure, people want experiences.
  4. There are finances to be invested from the private sector.
  5. The local authority sector is growing more aware of its role as a community and regeneration leader and facilitator.


Whatifgroup see our core mission  as having more relevance in 2023 than two years previously. The public sector has the ambition and capability to galvanise and the private sector the resources and capacity to deliver. Bringing these sectors together provides huge mutual benefits and opportunities in equitable partnerships. We set the business up to provide a single vision for both sectors. This need for cross sector collaboration is of huge relevance.

We have seen the value of good relationships. We have some amazing clients we work with, and we are benefitting from having invested in building patiently the right partners. It’s been exceptionally enjoyable working with such ambitious partners as:

i. The Danieli Group – who we are helping roll out their STACK venue; 

ii. Kinetic Property – who have a variety of exciting property projects and finance opportunities;

iii. Peel Holdings – who we have been supporting on the repurposing of the Quayside shopping Outlet Centre;

iv. Church of England – develop a new housing association for England.

From the outset, the Whatifgroup was strongly committed to environmental and social sustainability. Investment should be making a positive contribution. This agenda is now more relevant than ever.

We continue to look out for new opportunities for vacant and unloved spaces through opportunities to bring life and animation and the potential to create new businesses. Watch this space.

PHOTO by Lydia Nada on Unsplash.

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