13 million small businesses join forces to make voice heard at G7 conference

Press Releases 4 Jun 2021

Small business bodies across the G7 nations unite to represent small business

  • Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) coordinates first joint intervention of its kind from groups across EU, Canada, US and Japan
  • ‘SME7’ collective issues shared recommendations, stressing that “recovery will hinge on success of the 99%”    
  • Call to action comes as finance ministers meet seven days before G7 commences in Cornwall

Small business bodies representing firms from across G7 nations and the European Union are calling on conference leaders to put smaller enterprises “at the heart of economic recovery plans” as finance ministers meet in London ahead of the conference getting underway in Cornwall in seven days’ time.

In a joint statement, issued today after a meeting of the groups convened by FSB last month, the SME7 collective also urges leaders to “support small businesses on their journeys to reduce carbon emissions”, “address the digital divide” and “champion a small business-friendly international trading framework”, asks aligning with the G7 policy priority areas outlined by the Government.         

Small and mid-sized firms make-up 99% of businesses across the G7. The groups, which together represent 13 million businesses internationally, argue that smaller firms and sole traders “must be top of mind” as conference talks progress.

In addition to the joint statement, FSB has put forward seven specific recommendations covering the G7 priority areas. The UK’s largest business group is urging policymakers to:

  • Introduce a World Trade Organisation (WTO) committee dedicated to the trading needs of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, as outlined in its ‘Trading Forward’ study.
  • Ensure any future free trade agreements include dedicated small business chapters, so that smaller firms can make the most of preferential terms, comparable to that included in the EU-UK deal.  
  • Unlock the potential of small firms that sell goods and services online by removing barriers to access and digitising customs paperwork, as set out in ‘Destination Digital’.
  • Follow the five principles it has set out to ensure smaller firms can successfully make the transition to a net zero economy.
  • Introduce digital vouchers to ensure small firms can access the right tech and training.
  • Deliver full fibre broadband connectivity for every small business premises.
  • Radically reform business taxation to make it fairer for small businesses at the heart of community high streets, as proposed in ‘Streets Ahead’.  

FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry said:

”The overwhelming majority of firms across the G7 are smaller businesses and sole traders. As finance ministers gather today, and as we look ahead to the full conference launch seven days from now, it’s vital that all those attending have the needs of small firms front and centre as they agree measures to get the global economy back on track.

“Our recovery will hinge on the 99%, so its voice must not be lost – that’s why we’ve coordinated this one-of-a-kind intervention.

“From improving digital connectivity, to aiding the transition to net zero, to formulating trade policies that work for all, it’s so important that global leaders work together to facilitate a small business, sole trader, entrepreneur-led recovery, one that secures sustainable prosperity in every local community across the UK and beyond.”   


Notes to Editors

  1. For a full copy of the SME7 joint statement, please click here.
  2. Signatories to the joint intervention are FSB, Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), SMEunited, Chambres de Métiers et de l'Artisanat (CMA), Confédération des Petites et Moyennes Entreprises (CPME), Zentralverband des Deutschen Handwerks (ZDH), Confederazione Nazionale dell’Artigianato e della Piccola e Media Impresa (CNA Nazionale), Confederazione Generale Italiana delle Imprese, delle Attività Professionali e del Lavoro Autonomo (Confcommercio), Confartigianato Imprese, British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ) and BritishAmerican Business (BAB).  

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About FSB

As the UK’s largest business support group, FSB is the voice of the UK’s small businesses and the self-employed. Established over 40 years ago to help its members succeed in business, FSB is a non-profit making and non-party political organisation that’s led by its members, for its members. As the UK’s leading business campaigner, FSB is focused on delivering change which supports smaller businesses to grow and succeed.

FSB offers members a wide range of vital business services, including access to finance, business banking, legal advice and support along with a powerful voice in Government. Each year FSB also runs the UK’s Celebrating Small Business Awards. More information is available at www.fsb.org.uk. You can follow us on twitter @fsb_policy and on Instagram @fsb_uk.