Delegation advises 10 Downing Street

By Lancashire Business View

14 May 2018

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A group of Lancashire entrepreneurs has visited the prime minister's residence to share insight into small business growth.

The delegation, included Andrew Leeming of Boost; Catarina King, co-founder of Preston-based co-working space Society1; Rob Binns, owner of Cotton Court Business Centre; Guy Cookson, partner at Lancaster-based creative agency Hotfoot Design; and Anne Williamson of Lancashire-based consultancy Customer Love Ltd.

They met at 10 Downing Street Jimmy McCloughlin, a special adviser to the prime minister on business issues.

The meeting with special adviser  Jimmy McCloughlin, was brokered by Emma Jones from small business support organisation Enterprise Nation and was attended by 15 other small businesses from across the country.

Andrew Leeming said: "We wanted to get the message across that the support needed by a small company working from a small rented room is immeasurably different from the much larger businesses that central government describes as SMEs.

“Often the challenge is how does a brilliant small business with huge potential hire its first employee. These entrepreneurs need the tailored support that can help their businesses grow quickly, create jobs and grow the economy.”

Catarina King, who co-founded Society1 in Preston in 2017, said: “I feel we represented our county well. We highlighted the need for infrastructure, assistance for young businesses in taking on employees, as well as ensuring that all areas of the region benefit from the Northern Powerhouse movement.”

Guy Cookson, a co-owner at Hotfoot Design, said: “One of the points I raised is that small towns and cities are just as critical to creating the so-called Northern Powerhouse – Lancaster is one such place.

“Some 1,500 people work in the digital, tech and creative sectors in Lancaster. These are well paid highly skilled jobs. And the number is growing year on year. It is not hard to see why Lancaster is well placed to host cutting-edge businesses.”

Robert Binns, owner of Cotton Court, added: “It was a great opportunity to directly speak to the prime minister’s special adviser about how a number of business owners based at Cotton Court feel there is a need to segment the small business category further.

“The challenges faced by a company with two employees are significantly different from those with a headcount of over 200 and currently they are viewed and measured in the same way by the UK government.” Anne Williamson, MD at Customer Love Ltd, added: “The were many similarities between the growth hungry businesses in the room, and their feedback to government reflects the thoughts of many of the businesses I work with each week. It will be great to see some of the points addressed come to fruition.”

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