Tuesday 28 March 2017

Barnet Council needs to up its game in being Small business friendly

I got this press release from the Federation of Small Business. Sadly I was not surprised to see that Barnet did not make the list of small business friendly Boroughs. I have many friends in Camden who attest to how much better they are at helping people set up and run small businesses.  A good example is "A tale of two markets". Camden is world famous for its market stalls. These give young people a chance to start a business and try out entreprenerial skills.  Sadly in Barnet, Burnt Oak market has fallen into a shocking state of disrepair. The council has no interest at all in helping people get their own business going. They hve not made the list of best program for small business either. I am pleased to see Susan Lowe from Barnet make the list of nominees for small business champion. She does a stirling job in a less than benign environment. It emphasises what many of us who know Barnet have been saying for years. The council has some great individuals, but the organisation as a whole is a mess and doesn't serve the local people or business community well at all.
Here is the press release.
Shortlist of councils up for Small Business Friendly Borough award revealed after record number of entries

London Councils and the Federation of Small Businesses have announced the shortlist for the fourth Small Business Friendly Borough Awards, aiming to showcase councils in the capital that go the extra mile for small businesses. 
The awards, now in their fourth year, provide a platform for London’s 33 local authorities, including the City of London, to highlight their business-friendly policies and procedures.
The winners will be announced at a ceremony at the Kingsway Hall Hotel on Thursday, March 30.
The shortlisted boroughs are:
Best All-Round Small Business Friendly Borough
Best Small Business Friendly Procurement to Support Local Trade
Croydon          (for their Value Croydon project, which was created to enable and support local SMEs to access procurement opportunities within the borough
Merton             (for their procurement for their private taxi service for children with Special Education Needs (SEN) and vulnerable adults)
Best Programme of Support for Small Business
Greenwich                              (for the Royal Greenwich E-business programme)
Hackney                                 (for the business friendship agreement “Oslo meets Hackney”)
Kingston upon Thames           (for their free 30 minute parking scheme in town centres)
Lambeth                                  (for their “Lambeth Works” affordable workspace programme for start-ups, micro and small business)
Richmond                               (for their programme of support for the borough’s town centres)
Southwark                               (for their apprenticeship support programme for SMEs)
Sutton                                      (for their Pop-Up Sutton Entrepreneurs Market)
Wandsworth                            (for Wandsworth Enterprise Week)
Westminster                            (For Westminster Enterprise Week)
Best Small Business Friendly Champion (Officer)
Susan Lowe (LB Barnet)
Jenni Asiama (LB Wandsworth)
Best Small Business Friendly Champion (Member)
Cllr Mark Watson (LB Croydon)
Cllr Sizwe James (RB Greenwich)
Cllr Ben Coleman (LB Hammersmith & Fulham)
Cllr Jack Hopkins (LB Lambeth)
A total of 38 submissions were received from 23 boroughs - a record high.
Councillor Peter John, executive member for business, skills and Brexit at London Councils, said: “Small businesses play a critical role in London’s economy. They account for almost 99% of London’s businesses and nearly half of the capital’s jobs. They are not only key wealth generators but are also an important part of their local communities.
“London boroughs play an important role supporting small businesses to access good quality business advice and support, affordable workspace, business finance and public sector procurement contracts. I look forward to seeing the winners announced and their achievements celebrated on Thursday.”
Steve Warwick, London Regional Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses, said: “The awards are designed to celebrate the efforts of the Councils in supporting small businesses.  At a time when small firms are being squeezed by the cost of doing business – particularly with significant business rate increases in 2017, it is important for councils to remember that micro businesses are a vital part of London’s ecosystem.  Praising the measures which councils are implementing to reduce administrative burdens, and sharing best practice to create the right environment for micro and small firms to thrive, are critical for success.”

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