The fifth Small Business Friendly Borough Awards have recognised the pivotal role played by London’s boroughs in supporting and promoting small and micro businesses across the capital.
The awards are run by London Councils, which represents the 32 boroughs and the City of London, and the London region of the Federation of Small Businesses, and give boroughs recognition for effective and imaginative schemes that encourage local entrepreneurship.
This year London Borough of Croydon was crowned the Best All Round Small Business Friendly Borough for successfully implementing wide-ranging policies to support and develop its local micro and small business community – which make up 93% of Croydon’s businesses.
These businesses have been supported by a number of council programmes following Croydon’s business-led Small Business Commission in 2017, which improved an already innovative business environment.
These have included the 2018 Croydon Means Business programme, which held 175 events and workshops with over 4,500 business delegates in attendance, Croydon Works, a free job brokerage that has placed more than 600 residents into work since September 2017 and the Croydon Enterprise Loan Fund, which gives local business access to finance.
London Borough of Lewisham won the inaugural award for Best Programme to Reduce Impact of Crime on Small Businesses. This new category celebrates efforts by boroughs to prevent and tackle crime affecting micro and small businesses. Lewisham was recognised for Safer Lewisham Business Crime Reduction Partnership (BCRP), a membership scheme where businesses work with the police, council, and other interested stakeholders to reduce crime, violence, anti-social behaviour, and other crimes that affect the profitability of businesses. Royal Borough of Greenwich was commended in this new category for its efforts to reduce the impact of crime on small businesses in Woolwich Town Centre.
Other award winners included:
• London Borough of Haringey, for Best Small Business Friendly Procurement to Support Local Trade. The Haringey Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) is a procurement initiative which proactively supports local businesses to secure council contracts and other trade opportunities. In 2018/19, the DPS helped Haringey businesses to win £24.5 million worth of contracts.
• London Borough of Hackney for Best Programme of Support for Small Business. The Hackney Business Network provides a wide ranging, successful programme of support for SMEs in the borough, with accessible and clear routes to business support information. These include its website, investinhackney.org and its twitter account, @hackneybusiness.
Michael Lassman, London Regional Chair, Federation of Small Businesses, said:
“We are delighted to celebrate the efforts of the London Boroughs at these seminal awards. Since the May 2018 elections we have met with around 30 Boroughs to discuss their support for the self-employed, micro and small businesses in their Boroughs. These awards compliment the partnership work we are looking to undertake with Boroughs – and are keen to see Boroughs sharing best practice in the key areas of procurement, reducing business crime and supporting local trade in the coming months and years ahead.”
Cllr Clare Coghill, London Councils’ Executive member for Business, Europe and Good Growth, said: “Small businesses account for an impressive 99% of London’s enterprises. In fact, nearly half of all those employed in the capital work for them. This demonstrates how small businesses not only enrich London through the goods and services they provide, but also play a crucial role in local communities. We are proud to recognise the councils that support small businesses, and in doing so, London itself.”
“The London Councils Small Business Friendly Borough Awards highlight the importance of building good relationships between boroughs and small businesses. Doing so unlocks potential, encourages innovation, and benefits everyone involved.”
Ahead of the awards a seminar was held between to discuss the importance of building links between businesses, boroughs and police. The seminar had speaking
. Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor for Police
. Patrick Holdaway, Chief Inspector - Head of Operations at the National Business Crime Centre
. Representatives from the four boroughs shortlisted in Best Programme to Reduce Impact of Crime on Small Businesses: Barnet, Croydon Greenwich and Lewisham.
Cllr Jas Athwal, London Councils’ Executive member for Crime and Public Protection, said: “Small businesses play a vital role in our economy but are held back from reaching their full potential due to criminal and anti-social behaviour. I am pleased to see the creation of a new category, Best Programme to Reduce Impact of Crime on Small Businesses, to highlight solutions to this deeply concerning problem.
“London boroughs are serious about the role we play in reducing crime and violence, and these awards will help share good practice. In bringing together community partners, we can ensure that this complex challenge is tackled with the urgency and teamwork it demands to protect our local businesses and makes our communities safer.”