Essex FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) has warned that 2012 will be a year when businesses in Essex, Havering and Redbridge need to be resilient and when councils will need to be more supportive of their local businesses.
In a New Year’s message to the 4,000 businesses run by FSB members Essex FSB Chairman, Iain Wicks, said: “2011 has been a challenging year when sadly we have seen far too many SMEs cease trading and when Government decisions have not made it easier for businesses to access finance or business support.
“All the signs are that 2012 will be equally challenging as the impact of the Eurozone difficulties develop, High Street banks reluctance to lend to small businesses continues and customers tighten their belts.
“There is no doubt that as business owners in Essex, Havering and Redbridge look at their business plans for 2012 they will need to make sure they are resilient and ready for the challenges that will come during the next 12 months.
“Essex FSB will continue to provide support for its members and the wider business community but there is also a need for local councils to do more to support their local economy, and in some cases to actually start providing proper support for businesses.
“There are some who have already recognised the problem and put in place schemes to help including:
Basildon with its free weekend parking in its own car parks, its one stop email address of firstname.lastname@example.org for business queries, the business breakfasts and business advice centres it holds
Braintree with its active support for the shopping centres in Braintree, Halstead and Witham
Epping Forest with www.OneShopsLocal.com scheme
Harlow with the new Enterprise Zone
Maldon with the launch of Maldon business Support Services, it’s Think local campaign, provision of wireless 100 mbps broadband and the free car parking during December
Rochford with www.ShopAtMyLocal.com
Tendring with the Pop Up Shops
Thurrock with the business conference, its one stop email address of email@example.com for business queries and its commitment to the DP World development
Uttlesford with its business breakfast briefings and provision of wireless 100 mbps broadband
“On a larger scale Essex County Council’s EssexWorks programme includes considerable support for local businesses and a commitment to working with partners such as Essex FSB.
“2012 is also the year when the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) has got to prove its worth.
The first year of operation has seen too much time spent on getting governance and other procedures finalised and not enough on delivering real results to benefit businesses across Greater Essex, Kent and East Sussex.
“If SELEP is to be useful to the local economy its work streams need to start delivering action early in 2012 otherwise it will be dismissed as a talking shop with no teeth which is not what Essex FSB wishes to see happen.
“In conclusion we expect 2012 to be a tough one for businesses but one which they can survive with careful planning, cutting costs and maximising opportunities.”