As regulations and restrictions continue to change, our businesses need to stand together more than ever. Andrew Murphy advises on the support available through the COVID crisis.
Right now, it seems like the only consistency is that nothing is consistent. With regulations changing from week to week it’s hard for businesses to keep on top of it all by ourselves, and that’s why we need to lean on each other.
Much like MNC, the Federation of Small Businesses exists to provide a network of support for small businesses. Never before has it been more important. We’re a membership organisation, but as a not-for-profit, we plough all of our fees into the support we provide, and there’s plenty for non-members too.
Up-to-date COVID advice
One of our free resources is a dedicated COVID hub providing up-to-date advice for small businesses. In the hub we translate government announcements into clear advice for small businesses, answering questions like ‘When can my business reopen?’ ‘How can I look after my staff’ and ‘How do I reopen my business safely’ and providing details of local restrictions.
Financial and practical support
As part of our regular service we partner with a wide range of organisations to offer inclusive access to services for members, from access to a legal team including downloadable contracts, to mental health support and free business banking. While these are paid for with membership, using just one of these resources would make your membership fees well worth it. You can find out more about these resources here.
Outside of the FSB, I would also highly recommend that you get in touch with your nearest Local Enterprise Partnership rep to find out what government funding is available in your area. LEPs have been issued exclusive COVID recovery funding in the form of grants and loans. It varies throughout the country, so getting in touch with your local rep is essential.
One of our main strands of work is lobbying. We put pressure on the government to secure the interests of small businesses. A great example of this is in securing our role as conduit for the government’s Kickstart Scheme for young people.
The scheme aims to secure work for 16 to 24-year-olds by paying 100% of their wages when they’re taken on by your business in a 6-month placement. When the scheme came out, however, it was a requirement that you took on a minimum of 30 placements. This isn’t feasible for small businesses, so our acting as intermediary means that small businesses can pool their vacancies and benefit from the extra resource. Find out more about the Kickstart Scheme here.
Connecting small businesses
As MNC members, you know all too well that we’re stronger together. The benefits that we get from connecting with each other are immeasurable, from moral support to skill sharing, the people you meet at networking events become your extended business partners. Now more than ever we should be working together to ensure we thrive. FSB provide a range of free-to-attend events, giving you the opportunity to expand your network.
Take a look at our events calendar here and let’s ride this wave of uncertainty together.
If you want to know more about any of the schemes above, get in touch:
Phone: 07703 022688