Business groups join forces to reassure Britain’s smallest firms over Brexit


A cohort of small business representative groups have joined forces to offer a consistent line of support to Britain’s smallest firms and the self-employed following the EU referendum.

The nine organisations agreed in a meeting on Tuesday/June 28 to coordinate their efforts in the interests of offering positive reassurance to small businesses.

The representatives from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), Enterprise Nation, National Enterprise Network, Open to Export, IPSE, The Entrepreneurs Network (TEN), the Institute of Chartered Accountants, England and Wales (ICAEW), British Library Business and IP Centre, and Coadec, will work together to offer ideas around what businesses should be doing now to shore up their firm for the future.

Emma Jones, founder of small business support group Enterprise Nation, said: “It’s more important now than ever before for entrepreneurs to maintain optimism and look forwards, not backwards.

“The worst thing we can do is talk ourselves into a recession when formal negotiations leading to exit will take at least two years.

“Inevitably there will be new opportunities – and there are things businesses can do to protect themselves from changes that might affect them in short term and in the future. We have come together to make sure small businesses can easily get hold of the information and advice they need during the current period of uncertainty.”

Romilly Dennys, founder of Coadec said: “We are focused on supercharging our efforts to champion UK startups and the digital economy. We will work closely with tech founders across the UK to deliver a strong policy voice to Government, and ensure digital startups play a leading role in shaping our future.”

Mike Cherry, FSB national chairman said: “FSB will work with Government and other partners to ensure the UK’s 5.4 million smaller firms get the best deal for them to do business. At this week’s business summit chaired by Business Secretary Sajid Javid, I stressed the need for immediate action to ensure economic stability, to ensure small businesses can continue to trade and do business. Smaller firms need simple access to the single market, the ability to hire the right people, continued EU funding for key schemes and clarity on the future regulatory framework.

“When the negotiations start, FSB will be a constructive partner and a strong voice, working with other entrepreneur groups and pushing for swift clarity on these crucial points.”

Simon McVicker, director of policy and external affairs at IPSE said: “Now we are leaving the EU, IPSE believes the priorities should be new global trading arrangements, cutting burdensome regulation on small and micro businesses and ensuring that Britain has the most flexible and attractive economy in the world.”

Clive Lewis, head of enterprise at the ICAEW, said: “Whilst there have been no negotiations following the UK vote to leave the EU, the financial markets (currencies and stock exchanges) are already adjusting to the new situation. It is likely that foreign currency movements could affect small business trading position through either sales revenue or costs, so it is more important than ever to monitor financial performance.”

Dawn Whitely, chief executive of the National Enterprise Network said: “The members of National Enterprise Network have supported many hundreds of thousands of people thinking about or already running a business over the past 30 years, they’ve worked with their clients through good economic times and bad and whilst this is undoubtedly unchartered water for us all our membership is nonetheless looking to ensure all the clients they are working with have the best possible opportunity to survive and thrive no matter what! The key is to look for those opportunities wherever they may be, but support and advice will be key in ensuring small businesses can compete on home soil and abroad irrespective of any Brexit negotiation deals and we will be looking to Government to ensure that support is in place.”

Philip Salter, founder of The Entrepreneurs Network said: “In the short term, political uncertainty is a cost to British businesses and in the medium to long term reduced access to the Single Market could displace economic activity. This Referendum was a vote on whether we should stay in the European Union, not an election upon which we elect a Party based on manifesto policies. As such, The Entrepreneurs Network is calling on the current and next government to strike a deal that’s best for Britain, and that means causing as little damage as possible to the free movement of goods, capital and people, which means staying in the Single Market.”

Detailed advice will be shared by all parties to ensure consistent information is freely available in the public arena.

This was picked up by the Mail on Sunday.