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Councils are recognised in awards for small businesses support

Local councils have been recognised for their support for small firms as part of the annual Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) local authority awards.
At the FSB’s annual ‘Small Business Engagement’ lunch, all councils in Coventry, Warwickshire and Solihull were asked to make known any project or campaign that promotes and champions local economic development. There were four awards in total, which focused on small business friendliness:
• Best ‘small business friendly’ campaign 
• Best ‘small business friendly’ procurement policy
• Best all round ‘small business friendliness’
• Best ‘small business friendly’ MP
The awards form part of FSB’s lobbying activity to ensure that at every level of Government, entrepreneurs are viewed as potential wealth, growth and job-creators of the future. Across Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull, 97% of the 50,000 private sector businesses are small businesses, so it’s vital that we do everything we can to make it easier for them to thrive. 
Sandra Garlick, FSB Warwickshire and Coventry Area Lead said: “ As in previous years, we were again delighted this year with the range and strength of applications received and the quality of the schemes put forward. The FSB fully believes in partnership working and we are proud to say that over the years in this region we have developed strong relationships with the business community, our local authorities and MPs. We feel that working together we can have a greater impact on making our economy a better place and the awards help to share that best practice”
This year the Best ‘all round small business friendliness’ award went to Warwickshire County Council, with Stratford-on-Avon District Council picking up the award for Best ‘small business friendly’ campaign and Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council for Best ‘small business friendly’ procurement policy. Marcus Jones, MP for Nuneaton, won the award for Best ‘small business Friendly’ MP.
Sandra added “In Solihull’s application the Council demonstrated its approach to maximising opportunities for small businesses via its procurement policies, engagement with contractors, and joint working across the local supply chain to help facilitate small business growth.
Stratford on Avon District Council award was for its inaugural Victorian Christmas market, which was a great success for many small retailers despite adverse weather. The Market attracted significant reach across the UK with people travelling great distances throughout the country to attend. 
As ever, the overall small business friendliness award was difficult to judge, but the panel felt that Warwickshire County Council had again come up with innovative ideas to help small firms tackle skills shortages and increase apprenticeships, which is having a direct impact on helping small businesses grow. 
We look forward to continuing to work with local authorities and encouraging them to develop initiatives and policies that will help small businesses across the region develop and thrive”.
Marcus Jones MP for Nuneaton said “I am delighted to have been recognised for the work I do to support small businesses, they are the lifeblood of our economy and create jobs and the wealth to pay for important public services. I will continue to do what I can to help our small businesses.”
Cllr Ian Courts, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Managed Growth at Solihull Council said “This is a brilliant accolade for Solihull Council and we’re delighted to have been recognised at the awards once again. I would like to express my appreciation to the FSB for being such a key partner.  We have some really skilled companies working in Solihull and will continue to give support wherever we can to ensure that the future is prosperous for our business community”. 
Cllr Tony Jefferson, Leader of Stratford-on-Avon District Council said: “I’m delighted that the District Council together with partners, Stratford-upon-Avon Town Council and our market contractor’s LSD Promotions have been recognised for the  Victorian Christmas Market in Stratford-upon-Avon.  The judges particularly made reference to this campaign as it supported retail, a sector which generally gets little support. With footfall up by a resounding 91% in the town, this certainly gave local businesses a boost at a time of year when trading can be challenging. 

“All the Councillors involved will be able to acknowledge how bitterly cold it was over that weekend.  Nevertheless this is a great achievement and credit must go to all the partners involved who worked so hard to make this happen.  We look forward to welcoming you all to the ‘award winning’ Victorian Christmas Market this year!”
Cllr Peter Butlin, Deputy Leader of Warwickshire County Council  said: “I am delighted that Warwickshire County Council has won the overall "business friendly award". We take great pride in putting the needs of small business at the heart of what we do and we recognise that the success of start-up and small business is critical if our economy is to continue to grow and prosper"