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Borough of Poole rewarded for small business support

Government support for local businesses is vital, and Councillors and officers, involved in economic development, from Dorset were brought together for the annual Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Small Business Friendly Awards.

These Awards identified the best small business friendly initiatives undertaken by the region’s local authorities, which have benefited the county’s small businesses. Although other councils were recognised with highly commended initiatives, the Borough of Poole were rewarded for their ongoing support for small businesses.

Most Innovative ‘Small Business Friendly’ Programme, Project or Campaign
The award went to Borough of Poole for helping to address economic issues affecting the borough, and in particular the support offered to the small independent businesses within the retail sector. In partnership with the Poole Town Centre Management Board, the council created a suite of projects to help small businesses and town centres in the borough including Small Business Saturday, Mystery Shoppers, Independents Day, the introduction of Pop Up shops and also part-funding of the Driving Urban Enterprise (DUET) scheme to help residents from deprived areas start-up businesses.

Best All Round Small Business Friendliness
Borough of Poole was presented this award for its continuing commitment to support business. The council currently offers a wide range of initiatives designed to help local SMEs, including ‘New in Business’ Courses, support for the Dorset Growth Hub, the relaunching of the Dorset Engineering and Manufacturing Forum (helping over 200 engineering companies across Dorset), the production of the Poole Business Directory, and the creation of a business support and advice brochure which is a one-stop shop for business support in Poole.

The awards were introduced by the FSB Wessex Regional Chairman, Ken Moon who praised the councils for their commitment to small businesses within their respective areas. Ken said: “The Awards aim to recognise, and publically acknowledge, the significant work undertaken by local authorities, in supporting the micro and small business community. The FSB clearly sets out to lobby local and national government, but we also realise that we must recognise the work that councils undertake, which in essence, helps our members. Similar to pressures on many businesses, we are aware of financial pressures on councils as well, and will try to acknowledge any organisations that go ‘above and beyond’ what may normally be expected in order to ensure that the small business voice is not only heard but acted upon.”

Neil Eames, Development Manager for Wessex, further added: “We are delighted to acknowledge the Borough of Poole for their ongoing commitment to providing support for small businesses to prosper and grow. It is very encouraging to see such great efforts from local councils to help stimulate and provide an impetus to the British economy through small businesses. We hope that the Awards provide a platform for councils to share their successes in promoting and championing local economic development. It provides us with an excellent opportunity to promote the best examples of good work to all councils across the county, and further afield. This will go some way to help to drive the improvement of local Government delivery and performance to support our local business community.”

Cllr Janet Walton, Leader of the Council, Borough of Poole, said: “We are thrilled that the council has been recognised not once but twice for its ongoing support for Poole’s small businesses community. We are committed to providing a range of initiatives that help small businesses realise their full potential and we are pleased that these awards reflect this commitment.”

The FSB exists to promote an environment in which small businesses can survive and thrive, and our 4,000 members within the county look to local government to help create such an environment. It is clear that many Local Authorities are trying to help stimulate, and provide an impetus to, the British economy through championing the needs of the small business community.