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Wessex councils rewarded for small business support


Government support for local businesses is vital, and Councillors and officers, involved in economic development, from across Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight were brought together for the tenth annual Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Wessex regional Small Business Friendly Awards. 

Top picture: All winning Councils with Martin McTague, FSB National Policy Director and Ken Moon, FSB Wessex

These Awards identified the best small business friendly initiatives undertaken by the region’s local authorities, which have benefited small businesses. 

Winners in Hampshire and Isle of Wight were: 

Most Innovative ‘Small Business Friendly’ Programme, Project or Campaign
Joint Winners:
Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council (B&DBC) – for the Councils ‘Get connected – Digital Tech Week’ programme, in partnership with SETsquared, which successfully brought together Basingstoke’s entrepreneurial spirit and tech and digital talent, with local SMEs gaining a unique opportunity to learn more about all things digital. 

Gosport Borough Council (GBC) – the Council was presented this award for its ‘Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) 2016 – Enterprising Gosport’ programme, which in local partnership with Enterprise First and Basepoint Gosport, delivered a series of successful events during GEW. The success of the inaugural Gosport Enterprise Fair helped to engage with local entrepreneurs and small business owners, and to promote the advice and support available to them locally.

Best All Round Small Business Friendliness
Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) – maintaining its excellent track record in supporting small businesses and being acknowledged regularly by FSB, the Council was yet again presented this award for its ongoing commitment to providing support for small businesses to prosper and grow, and to realise their full potential. 

Winners in Dorset were: 

Most Innovative ‘Small Business Friendly’ Programme, Project or Campaign
Dorset County Council and Purbeck District Council – for the Councils joint initiative, the ‘Dorset Innovation Park – Enterprise Zone’ which is providing a vast range of benefits for businesses. Working together, the Councils have shown a commitment to providing a range of initiatives that are designed to help small businesses realise their full potential.

Best All Round Small Business Friendliness
Poole Borough Council – the Council was presented this award for its continuing commitment and support to a wide range of initiatives designed to help local SMEs. Various excellent business support initiatives including a successful ‘Small Business Saturday’ campaign, ongoing support of the Dorset Engineering and Manufacturing Cluster and new cyber alliance website, and a successful business profile as part of the European Maritime Day.


FSB representatives, Councillors and Council Officers attending the 2017 FSB Small Business Friendly Awards


The awards were introduced by the FSB Wessex Lead Member, Ken Moon who praised the councils for their commitment to small businesses within their respective areas. Ken said: “These Awards aim to recognise, and publically acknowledge, the significant work undertaken by Local Authorities, in supporting the micro and small business community. FSB sets out to lobby local and national government, but we also realise that we must recognise the work that councils undertake, which in essence, helps our members.” 

“Similar to pressures on many businesses, we are aware of financial pressures on councils as well, and will try to acknowledge any organisations that go ‘above and beyond’ what may normally be expected in order to ensure that the small business voice is not only heard but acted upon.”

Neil Eames, Development Manager for Wessex, further added: “We hope that the Awards provide a platform for councils to share their successes in promoting and championing local economic development. It provides us with an excellent opportunity to promote the best examples of good work to all councils across the county, and further afield. This will go some way to help to drive the improvement of local Government delivery and performance to support our local business community. We were delighted that all Councils within Wessex were represented at the presentation this year, showing their commitment to small businesses. The nominations also show that a great deal of effort is being made, and we look forward to working alongside the councils to keep this momentum going.”

The FSB exists to promote an environment in which small businesses can survive and thrive, and our 9,200 members within Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight look to local government to help create such an environment. It is clear that many Local Authorities are trying to help stimulate, and provide an impetus to, the British economy through championing the needs of the small business community.