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02 July 2013

FSB welcomes new entrepreneurs and reports on export potential of small businesses

Reference number: FSB PR 34/2013

The Federation of Small Businesses attended the Santander University Enterprise Awards 2013, recently. The FSB supports real-life entrepreneurs across the UK by providing a ‘best of breed'' business benefits package suited to start up and growing business. 

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The event coincided with the launch of an FSB report Enabling small businesses in the drive for exports. This highlights the perception of small firms that UKTI support is just for big businesses. The report showed that if more FSB member businesses took the plunge to export for the first time, £792 million could be added to the economy, annually.

At the University event, joint winners of the most entrepreneurial service award went to Lucas Hobbs, Will Green and Jamie Richardson for Sussex Low-Carbon Furniture Range and Marcus Winter for Ubinote. Sussex Low-Carbon Furniture Range collects, designs and produces sustainable wooden furniture.Ubinote is a technological platform which enables people to comment and rate places and objects to encourage audience engagement, feedback and communication.

The winner of the most innovative product award was Chloe Meineck for Music Memory Box. Music Memory Box is a multi-sensory box which stimulates memories and storytelling for people with dementia. Finally, the most enterprising community project award was won by Abi Jones, Damian Ellis, and Kit Man for Brighton Artspace - a local community arts project which delivers arts workshops for adults with mental health issues, supporting their members to become professional arts practitioners.

The Government has ambitious targets to get 100,000 new businesses exporting by 2020, potentially adding £5.6 billion to the economy. UKTI is tasked by the Government to support this drive and FSB research shows that since 2010, awareness of UKTI services has increased among members from 37 per cent in 2010 to 49 per cent in 2012. While this is an improvement, the FSB believes that more can be done to promote UKTI services.

Commenting on the Export report, Trevor Freeman, FSB Chairman of the Brighton and Hove branch (pictured with Vice-Chairman James Harvey at the event) said: "It is disappointing that only one in five businesses have used UKTI services and the FSB is encouraging more firms to engage with the support available. UKTI has listened to the concerns raised by small firms and offers wider support and advice to small businesses. Given the export growth potential among the smallest businesses they just need a helping hand and be made more aware about the help that is available and not assume it is just for big businesses. However, they do face barriers to taking that first step. By looking at what works well in other countries, such as a one-stop-shop for support and advice, the Government and UKTI can give more small firms the confidence to take the plunge and start exporting."