Regional News Help needed to design training for women working in STEM industries West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges wants Kirklees employers to help train more women in science, technology, engineering and maths. Earlier this year, WYCC successfully secured £3.5m funding from the European Social Fund (ESF) for the 'Reach Higher' project that will enable career progression and/or transition among those in employment in the Leeds City Region, which covers Kirklees and Calderdale. More details from Dr Joanne Harvatt. FSB Leeds Networking & Business Rates Ask The Expert Event December's quarterly networking event with the Met Club at The Radisson Blu Hotel Leeds will be held on Wednesday 13 December and is combined with an FSB Business Rates Ask The Expert event. Business rates expert Colin Hunter MRICS IRRV (Hons) from Lambert Smith Hampton will be talking about recent changes to the business rates regime and answering member questions from 6pm. Colin is a member of the Rating Surveyors Association and will cover areas including valuations and the appeal system. Members who cannot attend can email their questions in advance to Barney Mynott and the questions and responses will be tweeted live on the night (@FSBWestYorks). Attendance for FSB members is free using booking code FSB1213 at the Met Club website. Entries open for FSB Celebrating Small Business Awards 2018 Business owners can now apply for the FSB Celebrating Small Business Awards 2018, highlighting the best of the UK's 5.5 million small businesses. The Yorkshire & Humberside Area event will be held in early March 2018, entries close on Friday 12 January. Each area category winner will go forward to the national UK awards final, where the category winners and the overall FSB Small Business of the Year 2018 will be announced. The awards are open to both members and non-members and entries are free. Find out more about the categories and how to apply here. Business Issues Record number of small firms in UK The UK's small businesses contributed a huge £1.9 trillion to the economy this year, according to new Government figures. The latest business population statistics from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, show there's now a record 5.7 million smaller businesses in the UK, proving that despite rising costs and flagging consumer demand, entrepreneurial spirit is not easily shaken. Industrial Strategy is first piece of productivity jigsaw After the publication of the Government's Industrial Strategy white paper, Mike Cherry, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chairman, said although it marked the first phase of the journey to improved productivity, it's essential we quickly move to phase two. "To have a sustained and game-changing impact on the economy, the focus needs to be on how to improve productivity across the UK's small businesses and the self-employed," he added. Click here to read our full reaction, looking at the impact on policy areas including skills and infrastructure, business support and clean growth. You may also like 23 March 2018 Weekly Brief 12 - Friday 23 March 2018 17 March 2018 Weekly Brief 11 – Friday 16 March 2018 15 March 2018 At the vanguard: member profile of Jerba Campervans, North Berwick 16 February 2018 Weekly Brief 7 – Friday 16 February 2018 05 July 2016 Post Brexit vote-FSB fights for smaller firms 04 May 2016 Make your vote count tomorrow!