Ex-Islington cop who schooled in Hackney saves business from Covid-19 bust

Aaron Henriques in his police uniform.

Former Met police officer Aaron Henriques. - Credit: Courtesy of Aaron Henriques

A former police officer who grew up in Islington and schooled in Hackney has saved his cleaning business - and the 35 jobs associated with it - from becoming a casualty of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Ex-Islington cop Aaron Henriques set up his cleaning business in 2017 -  a franchisee with Maid2Clean - after a decade of policing, but the business almost went bust after 90 per cent of customers cancelled their contracts within the first two weeks of the first national lockdown in March. 

Though rejected for government grants, Aaron used money from the recent sale of his own home to cover the costs of his company, which operates in Cardiff and London. 

He told the Gazette: "When I started to see the cancellations come in so fast but my bills staying about the same, it was just lucky timing that I sold my house a few months before.

"Otherwise, I would not have been able to save the business and jobs for my team, who rely on me to provide work for them in order to survive."

Despite being invited to Downing Street in 2018 to discuss the UK's small business strategy, Aaron's and many other small businesses were not eligible for government grants or furlough. 

Aaron Henriques stands in front of the doors of 10 Downing Street in a suit.

Former Islington police officer and Stoke Newington RAF cadet Aaron Henriques at Downing Street in 2018. - Credit: Courtesy of Aaron Henriques

Still, he says the government have "done a lot": "Although they could not help me, I think the country could be in a much worse place than it is today had the support packages not been available to so many others."

The businessman, who was once a Stoke Newington RAF cadet and is known also as Aaron Henray, took the "huge risk" to invest heavily in marketing after the first lockdown - but the decision paid off when Aaron saw 200 per cent more new clients per month.

He encourages other entrepreneurs to spend more on marketing, as he did, to cope with the ongoing economic effects of the pandemic. 

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His advice to other entrepreneurs is: "Don't try to save and hideaway from this, get yourself out there now and save your business."

Since the tier system has been put in place, Aaron has seen few cancellations with customer numbers back to pre-Covid levels. 

"My biggest problem will now be recruiting new staff. Some of our very best cleaners over the years have been from Europe and with the run-up to Brexit we've found it much harder to recruit," he added. 

For more information visit www.aaronhenriques.com 

READ MORE: Start-up launched by former Islington cop can now supply the government