New FSB awards will recognise local government support for small businesses

Ruth Lambert

Local authorities and councils across England are being invited to nominate themselves to have their partnerships with small businesses recognised and celebrated by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) – with the national awards ceremony to take place in Worcestershire.

The inaugural FSB Local Government Awards on 14 October, to highlight the work local government is doing to support small firms and sole traders all across England, helping to boost local economies and employment.

The aim of the awards is to highlight outstanding partnerships and projects, so that ‘best practice’ examples can be built upon more widely, as well as to increase knowledge amongst local government organisations of the types of projects and programmes which work best to empower the small business community.

They will also give small firms themselves the opportunity to see the types of support that are available to them.

The awards ceremony will be held at DRP Group in Worcestershire, a state-of-the-art venue which has hosted events such as the Gadget Show, and will be jointly produced with students from Kidderminster College, giving them hands-on experience at a high-profile professional event.

The awards themselves will cover four main categories:

COVID-19 Support and Recovery – how local government were able to support local businesses in innovative and proactive ways during the pandemic

Programme of Business Support – what is on offer to local businesses, including a small business-focused procurement programme, schemes to help high streets, crime reduction, and help on ‘ESG’ (environmental, sustainability, and governance) issues

Future-Ready – what are councils and local authorities doing to address skills gaps, adapt high streets to shifting consumer habits, help local firms on the way to net zero, nurture future entrepreneurs, and more, and

All-Round Small Business Friendly – to recognise an overall outstanding contribution to the life and health of the local business community.

Ruth Lambert, FSB Development Manager for Somerset and Wiltshire commented:

“Small businesses are at the heart of our communities, providing employment and boosting local economies, and local government organisations which recognise and support their part in the fabric of community life should be rightfully celebrated.

“There is so much fantastic work being done by local authorities and councils in partnership with small firms and entrepreneurs that deserves more prominence, and our inaugural FSB Local Government Awards will shed light on this vital area of partnership between the public and private sectors.

“Innovation and imagination will be needed from local government bodies and from small businesses alike as we face up to the challenges of everything from reaching net zero to improving productivity in all of England’s areas and regions.

“By working together, we are all better off, and will build a stronger basis for growth and positive development.”

Local authorities and councils can nominate themselves for the awards, which are free to enter, and are invited to contact their nearest FSB team for more information, or to visit https://www.fsb.org.uk/local-government-hub.html