OF SMALL BUSINESSES New chairman hoping to give smaller firms a bigger voice
MY name is Simon Edmondson, and this is my first column as the FSB’s regional chairman for the Manchester and North Cheshire region following our AGM vote last week.
The first thing I want to say is a massive thank you to the former chair, Richard Gregg, who has worked tirelessly for the federation and its members for 14 years, but who has stood down to let fresh blood take over.
While Richard has set the bar high, and will certainly be a hard act for me to follow, it is my aim to continue his good work in the region, lobbying those in positions of power to make the lives of small business owners that bit easier, and raising awareness of issues which affect all entrepreneurs and effect change.
Looking ahead, I’ve picked a great year to take up the reigns.
Not only have we got the General Election looming in May – around which the FSB already has a number of election husting events planned, including one in Urmston and another in Hazel Grove – but the path to successful devolution for Greater Manchester will also begin in earnest, and I want to make sure that it delivers for all our members and the entire small business community.
At a more macro level, there’s also the usual plethora of business issues that continually give our members cause for concern.
One that springs to mind is business rates.
Only this week I was talking to a member who told me he has been on the Valuation Office Agency’s appeals waiting list for two years, so he’s not even out off the traps yet.
That’s just not good enough, and we will be making representations.
There’s also the thorny issue of late payment of invoices, red tape, lack of the right education and training for employees, and then let’s not forget those issues that are more unique to the region such as high speed rail, and even the state of the roads which are have been sorely neglected in these parts.
These are the areas where I can see the FSB providing a voice for small business owners, where alone their voice goes unheard, but together, we can speak up and be heard.
I am honoured to have been given chairmanship of the UK’s leading business support organisation here in Greater Manchester, a region I believe is one of the most vibrant and amazing parts of the UK to run a company.
I look forward to meeting existing members and welcoming new ones to the FSB fold as we push on in to 2015, and help deliver change so that small firms can grow and prosper as the economic recovery picks up a pace.
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Simon Edmondson, the new regional chairman for the Manchester and North Cheshire branch of the Federation of Small Businesses