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FSB volunteer recognised with OBE for services to Small Businesses

FSB volunteer Arnab Dutt has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, for services to small businesses, diversity and equality.

As well as his FSB role as UK policy lead for Integration and Partnerships, he is an advisor to the Cabinet Office on SME procurement and social value.
Arnab, who has run manufacturing and technology businesses for 25 years, said: “I’m absolutely stunned and humbled to receive this honour. Over the years I have worked alongside inspirational champions of small business, not least my dear colleagues in FSB and I am incredibly grateful for their support and advice.

 As part of my role, I continue to build relationships with many diverse business groups that need to be championed and have their voices heard. Especially in the BAME communities. I have been building links in particular with Asian food, retail and hospitality businesses. This part of our small business community faces significant challenges; from increasing cost pressures to finding staff with the correct skills and experience.

These are examples of the type of issues where FSB effectively lobbies decision-makers, to protect its members and the wider small business community. Over the last year it has won financial help for smaller firms on the High Street, seen off a wholesale expansion of the VAT system, secured action to tackle late payments, and proposed improvements to apprenticeships. 

In my role as a member of the SME panel at Cabinet Office I advise on social value procurement. I have been working with government to develop a procurement architecture that drives the target of 33% of all public sector contracts going to SME’s.

The aim is to provide better value for the public purse through the disruption and innovation small businesses can bring to the table.  

More importantly small businesses are at the heart of communities right across the UK, and their value is not just economic. They provide jobs, around 60 per cent of private sector employment, and they contribute growth to local and national economies. They are also an integral part of the socio-economic fabric of society and are a force for good.  

According to FSB’s recent policy report, “Small Business, Big Heart,” 80 per cent of small business owners surveyed had volunteered or contributed to a local community organisation or charity in the last three years. I believe given the opportunity they can do even more. 

Many small business owners hold positions within their local community; many participate in skills training including apprenticeships and work experience. They are statistically more likely, than bigger businesses, to recruit an employee from a harder to reach part of the workforce; recognising talent regardless of someone’s background or circumstances. 

And so, while I am humbled to receive this honour, I am immensely proud of our 5.6 million strong small UK business community. I am inspired to continue working with you all to create a more entrepreneurial ecosystem that works for everyone, providing opportunity for all, promoting social cohesion, sustainability and future proofing our economy.