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24 March 2017

Weekly Brief 12 - Friday 24 March 2017

FSB National Business Show & Conference 2017
FSB’s flagship event of the year took place in Torbay, Devon this week. The annual National Business Show & Conference kicked off on Thursday afternoon at the Riviera Conference Centre. Understandably, in the light of the tragic events in Westminster, our invited political speakers were unable to attend in person but both sent video messages.

Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn said FSB is respected on all sides of politics because we speak with the authority of our members and so when we say something, people listen. Secretary of State for Business Greg Clark explained that he believes the Government needs to do more to help small businesses grow and that Margot James, Small Business Minister is leading a new Scale-up Taskforce. Watch both videos here.

Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the TUC, appeared at the conference, speaking on a range of topics affecting small businesses but was especially passionate about late payments and tax-avoidance by big companies. Delegates also heard from Stephen Booth from Open Europe, Pete Moorey from Which as well as a cross-party Small Business Question Time.

Brexit: Keep trade easy
The first in our series of Brexit reports was published this week. New research reveals the trade deals smaller firms want to see struck first post Brexit. ‘Keep Trade Easy: what small firms want from Brexit’ shows the top priority market for small firms is still the EU single market (63%). It also reveals the importance of other markets, with nearly half (49%) of FSB members selecting the US as a priority market and one in three (29%) choosing Australia. The report gained coverage BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the Telegraph, the Sun, The Guardian and CNBC. You can also click here to hear more from FSB policy advisor and report author Charlotte Chung.

Cracking down on cartels
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched an online campaign to encourage businesses to report cartel leads. Cartels are illegal. They’re a form of stealing that stop businesses, consumers and taxpayers getting a fair deal. They involve businesses cheating their customers by agreeing ‘not to compete’ with each other, so that they can keep their prices up.

Financial Health Fellowship
The Finance Innovation Lab and the anti-poverty charity Toynbee Hall are running a six month Financial Health Fellowship between May and November 2017. It will look to support innovations that address financial exclusion and exploitation (of individuals and businesses), offering access to fairly priced financial products that are easy to understand and support financial welfare. The programme (which was piloted last year) will boost Fellows’ strategic know-how, transform their leadership skills and prepare them to scale up their businesses. Participation is free for early stage start-up businesses. If you are interested in applying more information is available here.

Apprenticeships and small business
Annie Peate, FSB education and skills policy advisor, is a guest contributor in an apprenticeships and small business webinar on apprenticeships and small businesses. The webinar, hosted by Pearson, will take place on Tuesday 28 March (4-5pm) and will discuss the forthcoming changes to apprenticeship funding, new employer-designed programmes and how small businesses stand to benefit from apprenticeships. To join the webinar, click here

Give one hour to inspire students at a local school
We’ve partnered with Founders4Schools, a charity which connects business leaders with school students to inspire them about the world of work. You can change the life of a student by sharing your story. If you’d like to be involved and are happy to be invited to speak in a school by a teacher, you can sign up here.

Giving exports international appeal
Open to Export are hosting a webinar on Wednesday 29th March about digital exporting and what small businesses need to do to make sure their online offering is understood internationally. Click here to join this free webinar for practical tips to ensure your message has international appeal. 

Your export journey
The British Exporters Association (BExA) will be hosting an Export Seminar in London on May 9th. The seminar will follow the export journey, including trade policy and support available from Government, identifying new markets and opportunities, trade finance solutions and innovation, the implications of Brexit and the risks exporters should be aware of. It’s free to attend and you can book here.

£1 coin countdown
The new 12-sided coin comes into circulation across the UK next week, on March 28 and shops are being told to stop accepting the current round coins on October 15. If your small business handles cash, it’s important you’re up to speed on the roll-out. See the Royal Mint website for more information, including how to identify counterfeits.

Help for Employers
Public Health England (PHE) and Business in the Community have just published a series of toolkits which may be helpful if you are an employer:
PHE BITC ARMA Musculoskeletal health in the workplace toolkit for employers assists employers in managing and improving the musculoskeletal health of their workforce
PHE BITC Samaritans Reducing the risk of suicide: a preventative toolkit for employers provides support on how to recognise symptoms and prevent suicide
PHE BITC Samaritans Crisis management in the event of a suicide: a postvention toolkit for employers offers practical advice for employers to follow in the aftermath of an employee suicide

Register to vote
Local elections are taking place across Wales, Scotland and parts of England on 4 May
2017. To make your voice heard, it’s important you register to vote. Check out this step-by-step guide to registering online. You can be part of the campaign to encourage voter enrolment by downloading this resource pack

Join Big Voice and get your business heard
Big Voice is FSB's unique, online research community and it's free for members to join. By commenting or responding to one of FSB's surveys, members give us the evidence we need to take to politicians at all levels, across the UK and in Brussels on the topics that really matter to them. This evidence is used to support FSB lobbying and help shape the laws affecting small businesses. Join for free and start making sure your voice is heard.

See how FSB have campaigned on this issue

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