Five FSB members from York & North Yorkshire, including area lead Andrea Morrison, were invited to the York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Business Engagement Forum, alongside FSB Development Manager Carolyn Frank. This was a great opportunity for FSB members to influence local economic strategy, on the themes of business support and wellbeing, in a deep dive workshop on the two topics in focus for this quarterly meeting.
Chaired by Tracy Blundell, York & North Yorkshire LEP’s Communications Officer, the Business Engagement Forum was designed in partnership with FSB and other business organisations, to help the LEP shape their offer including that of the Growth hub which provides free and impartial business advice and 1-2-1 business support, as well as funded programmes of business support, as a sounding board and two way discussion forum.
Businesses are asked to feedback on LEP and Growth Hub activity at each session, making suggestions for how to reach more businesses with the wide range of services offered by them and other partners, and to input what are the hot topics for small businesses in the region, alongside feedback on what could be improved from a grassroots business perspective. After a short break, it will now meet regularly again, with a space for general feedback as well as a look at key topics each quarter.
FSB Development Manager Carolyn Frank said “This is FSB volunteering and policy making in action, linking our members with policymakers, to shape the way things are done. FSB is a campaigning organisation, and we try to be a critical friend to the public sector and Government, offering solutions and suggestions from grassroots business owners, at both a local and national level. I’m delighted to see the Business Engagement Forum get back into action after a short break. It’s a great way to make sure programmes and strategies coming out of the LEP and Growth Hub meet the needs of small businesses, when direct feedback from small businesses is listened to, and actioned.”
Andrea Morrison, FSB Area Lead commented “This was the first time I have taken part in the Business Engagement Forum, but I found the discussion with LEP staff and other businesses insightful, and productive. I would encourage other FSB members to get involved and volunteer to take part and share your views, it is important that the voice of small business is heard across the public sector, to drive change. If you are interested in volunteering for this, or the many other opportunities FSB offer to promote the interests of small business through our policy work, please do get in touch.”
“The York & North Yorkshire Business Engagement Forum is looking for more businesses to get involved, with a time commitment of 2 hour long quarterly meetings a year, currently online via MS Teams, so if your business has something to say about business support and what’s needed in local economic strategy and you can give constructive feedback, please let FSB know and we will secure you an invitation to future sessions.”
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