FSB’s Powerful Voice Sets The Agenda For Enterprise, Growth And Skills

The FSB says the time is right for small firms to seize opportunities and the moment to create a successful and vibrant Britain. For example the recent cut in employers’ National Insurance by £2,000, a significantly increased annual investment allowance to £250,000 and the Government’s review on late payments will help thousands of small companies invest and create jobs.

The FSB believes policymakers increasingly recognise the vital contribution small businesses make to the economy and society. But more can be done to help, such as reforming business rates, improving access to finance and looking at how small firms can have a clear voice within Government.

Looking at the operation of the Small Business Administration (SBA) in the USA and how it has helped small firms through the recession, the Conference will discuss the benefits of having a strong voice at the heart of government to lead small business policymaking, and what lessons could be learnt from experiences in the US.

FSB National Policy Chairman, Mike Cherry will tell the audience: “Small firms are the backbone of the economy. We need to ensure the issues small and micro businesses face remain front and centre stage in policymakers’ minds, not only up to the General Election, but beyond.

“No longer should supporting small firms be a ‘nice to have’ that comes as an afterthought to policymaking. Just as much as our world-class large businesses are vital for prosperity, small firms too are the lifeblood of our economic well-being and need a similar level of focus. We must hardwire the vital role they play in the economy into our thinking. The Government must focus on how they can support these businesses in job creation and growth while the UK’s large businesses need to play their part too in supporting ambitious small businesses, for example through paying their smaller suppliers promptly.”

The FSB has raised how business support is congested and confusing with research showing hundreds of support schemes to help small firms, yet with little take-up or effect. The FSB believes the current situation is too complex for most businesses to understand, and has looked to the United States for comparison.

Speaking at the event is Karen G Mills, ex-head of the United States’ Small Business Administration (SBA) and former member of President Obama’s Cabinet. The FSB believes the SBA model could be translated into the UK environment, bringing together business support, export advice, public procurement and access to finance together in one powerful body and which importantly through its place at the Cabinet table, has a strong voice at the heart of Government.

Karen G Mills, said: “As governments look to the future, their plans have to be centered on growth, and the primary currency should be well-paying jobs. With that, any conversation focused on jobs must include small business and entrepreneurship. When small business has a seat at the table, we can more effectively focus on entrepreneurship and innovation, which are critical components to a strong economic game plan in today’s world.”

Through what has been one of the worst ever global downturns, small firms have shown resilience, continuing to employ and putting plans in place for growth. The FSB is working hard with policymakers to address these issues to create an environment for small firms to start-up and prosper.

Mr Cherry continues: “We need to focus the minds of policymakers on the needs of small businesses and how to create the right environment for firms to start up, grow, invest and employ more people.

“The UK must be more positive and supportive towards its businesses, and recognise the contribution responsible businesses make. We must create a culture that celebrates their success, the benefits they bring to society and remove the stigma of business failure. This conference will explore ways to grow and will seek to set out ways to raise the game for UK entrepreneurship for the long term.”