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Awards, legal advice, mental health at work - FSB Kent members look back at 2018

FSB is a member-led organisation, so what better way to sum up 2018 than to hear from the members directly? Here are a few comments on FSB Kent activity this year.


Anna Daniels Francois Reynier Gav PauzeAnna Daniels of The Daniels Group took part in the Mental Health in the Workplace conference in October. Anna says, “What an incredibly positive and supportive day the conference was. I was so pleased to have taken part as a speaker. Having spent the last 30 years running a company that specialises in physical and mental health and wellbeing, I think people were surprised to hear my story of how mental health affected me and what I did to overcome it. Dyslexia, burnout and chronic fatigue – conversations afterwards with delegates gave me the answer that I had achieved my objective in being honest and open and helping others to understand the signs and make changes to their lives!

Thank you FSB for supporting me and so many others in our quest to address and support Mental Health in the workplace.”

François Reynier, Creative Director, Acacia enjoys the benefits and says, “Being an FSB member gives you access to essential tools and advice to take your business further. There is a wide range of business document templates and articles on the members' portal, and the legal helpline is only a phone call away."

DJ Pauze aka Gav Pauze took part in the FSB #ThinkSelfEmployed campaign and says, “The FSB team that came to my premises to create a video were really great. Polite, professional and I was highly impressed at the speed things were done at and the quality of the end product.”

Gav has also used FSB Care and says, “I found the FSB mental health nurse support which I used a couple of months ago useful. Not only was the on-the-spot support really good, but also the follow-up and continuing support the service has given me was amazing, too.” 

Stefano Cuomo Sarah Hawes Peter SearleStefano Cuomo, Managing Director of Macknades says, “As a business owner looking to scale, this has been the most productive year of my FSB membership, a membership I am grateful to have and have thoroughly enjoyed! I’ve been contacted regularly and included in a number of events which have widened my understanding of the support available to me via the FSB, have increased my business knowledge and importantly have allowed me some excellent peer-to-peer engagement which has led to me kindling relationships that have been important for my business. I look forward to a dynamic 2019 with the support of the FSB!”

Sarah Hawes of Izzy PR renewed her FSB membership this year. “I opened a Co-Op bank account through the FSB to help with my business growth. I needed to keep all of my money separate and the business bank account means that managing my finances is easier and also my bookkeeper finds her side easier too. I’d recommend that anyone starting in business gets a company bank account from the off – it will make your life so much easier! It was very easy to set up and their customer service is fantastic, too.”

Peter Searle, Business Doctor is an active member who hosts networking events in Maidstone. “The FSB calendar for 2018 has been packed,” says Peter. “The activities provide useful information for the day-to-day issue’s we have, or might have, for example cybercrime prevention. There’s also events where wider issues are discussed, for example the Kent Business Summit. Activity is not all at a high level, the local networking events are informal and an opportunity to network. The Maidstone event has now been running for a year. It regularly attracts over 40 people, both members and non-members to meet over a glass of wine at MetroBank. From the informal discussions, it’s surprising what connections and assistance has been gained. So, not only is there a wealth of useful information in the members’ area on the website, there is the benefit of forming local face-to-face relationships.”

Debs Smith Nick Paterno Fran Boorman

Fran Boorman entrepreneur has found relationship building useful. “I have benefited hugely from my membership this year,” says Fran. “I received some great advice from the legal team especially around areas like GDPR and I attended some outstanding events. However the best benefit must have been the great introductions that my Development Manager made. She is always looking out to connect people and as a result of her introductions I have formed several new exciting partnerships.”

Nick Paterno, managing partner of McBrides Chartered Accountants says, “We were delighted to sponsor the Small Business of the Year category at the FSB Celebrating Small Business awards earlier this year. It was great to meet so many entrepreneurial business owners and their people and to celebrate success.”

Deborah Smith runs Carpe Occasio Business Solutions Ltd and Carpe Occasio Creative Arts. “One of the first things I did when I became self-employed was to join FSB.” Says Deborah. “The benefits and networking opportunities available are second to none. I now also run one of those networking opportunities and my dream of launching Art in the Workplace as a tool for mental wellbeing became a reality when I was invited to have a stand at this year’s Mental Health conference in Maidstone.  I wouldn’t have had this opportunity if I hadn’t been a member and that idea would still be just an idea!”

Working with partners

It is not only the members that we meet and engage with throughout the year. A lot of our events are run in partnership with other organisations, and we invite them to our events in return.

Floortje HoetteofKent Business School attended an
FSB Women in BusineFloortje Hoette Louisa Felsteadss event. “I listened to the inspiring Sue Black and met speaker and coach Maureen Chiana, who we are now working with at Kent Business School. A very enjoyable, laid back and successful morning!” 

Louisa Felstead, Engagement Development Manager, Leigh Academies Trust says, “Our academies have been delighted to host a number of FSB Skills 30:30 events this year, each of which have hugely benefited participating students by bringing the world of work into education. Each event has been slightly different but the end results are always the same: helping students to engage with local business and become more aware of their forward career options. Sincere thanks to the FSB Kent and Medway." 

Many thanks to all our members and partners who have engaged with us over 2018. Here is to a prosperous 2019 for everyone.