By Claire West
The Forum of Private Business has appointed a new Business Development Manager,
Geoffrey Gracey, for North Yorkshire, East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.
The national not-for-profit business support and lobby group hopes to increase recruitment in the area by providing a local contact for businesses interested in finding out more about its work. As a result, it has brought in Mr Gracey to inform local businesses of the help and support services the Forum has on offer.
Previously a finance officer with Yorkshire Bank, Mr Gracey has over twenty years experience in business and finance - expertise he intends to share with local businesses.
During these difficult economic times, Mr Gracey believes it is especially important that new business start-ups can access the support services they really need.
“I am delighted to be on board at the Forum of Private Business in order to be able to bring more services to local business,” he said. “Businesses should be aware that, through membership of the Forum, they have a great opportunity to bring local issues to the forefront.
“The region has just emerged from an extremely severe recession, with many companies still facing the threat of administration. Some local businesses, particularly those in the tourist industry, have been hit very badly. My role with the Forum will hopefully bring more services to local businesses in order to get them through these difficult times.”
Recent research by the Knutsford-based Forum revealed that 76% of Yorkshire’s small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) believe that reducing the deficit should be one of the new Government's main priorities.
When asked how business support could be improved locally, reducing local taxation emerged as the most popular choice among small firms in Yorkshire, finding favour with 69% of those surveyed.
This emphasises that small business owners across the region support the Government’s attempts to reduce the UK's record public debt via public sector cuts rather than tax hikes on businesses.
However, particularly with the decline of Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) and local Business Links — and the lack of clarity surrounding the new proposed Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEAs) - it is important for small businesses that key support services are not sacrificed in the drive to cut costs.
Further, despite the new ‘Regional Employer NICs Holiday for New Businesses' scheme, which has been rolled out to areas including Yorkshire and the Humber and gives news firms a ‘holiday' on employers' NI contributions for each of the first 10 employees they hire in the first year of business, the Forum believes that the Government should go further and introduce even bolder tax policies to stimulate private sector led growth.
In Yorkshire, the importance of web design and search engine optimisation (SEO) are among the topics set to be covered at a Forum breakfast event in Leeds on Wednesday, 13 October, which will also provide local businesspeople with valuable networking opportunities.
It takes place at 3 Albion Place and keynote speakers will be provided by the UK’s largest web design and SEO company, Creare.
The opportunity comes after new Forum research showed more than one in five of Yorkshire’s small and medium-sized businesses (23%) still do not have a website. The initial figure was revealed through the Forum’s latest Referendum ballot of members and compares with a national figure of 21%.
For more information about the Forum, business owners should call 0845 616 6266 or visit www.fpb.org.