Wandsworth was crowned this year’s Best All Round Small Business Friendly Borough for its wide range of support for small businesses and start-ups. The pivotal role played by London boroughs in supporting and promoting the capital’s small businesses was highlighted this week at the Small Business Friendly Borough Awards.
Now in its fourth year, the Small Business Friendly Borough Awards is run by London Councils, which represents the 32 boroughs and the City of London, and the London region of the Federation of Small Businesses. The awards give councils well-deserved recognition for effective and imaginative schemes that encourage local entrepreneurship.
Wandsworth’s win included launching Wandsworth Foodies in Autumn 2016 to provide one-to-one and group support tailored to the food industry; support to help businesses build capacity and skills to win contracts in the Nine Elms Regeneration area; the Wandsworth Business Loan Fund lending over £300,000 to businesses struggling to access finance and its flagship Wandsworth Enterprise Week.
Havering was highly commended in this category for its comprehensive programme of support, including over 1,500 advice sessions to SMEs, 40 workshops and network meetings and an intensive programme of support for the construction industry.
Other award winners included:
Merton won the award for Best Small Business Friendly Procurement to Support Local Trade for the procurement for their private taxi service for children with Special Education Needs (SEN) and vulnerable adults:
Lambeth and Sutton were joint winners of the award for Best Programme of Support for Small Business for their Lambeth Works affordable workspace programme and their Pop-Up Sutton Entrepreneurs Market respectively;
Cllr Ben Coleman, LB Hammersmith & Fulham won the inaugural award for Best Small Business Champion (Member), while Jenni Asiama from LB Wandsworth won the award for Best Small Business Champion (Officer).
“Small businesses play a critical role in London’s economy,” Cllr Peter John, London Councils’ Executive member for Business, Skills and Brexit, said. “They account for almost 99% of London’s businesses and nearly half of the capital’s jobs. They are not only key wealth generators but are also an important part of their local communities.
“This year’s awards saw a record number of nominations and the variety and scope of this year’s winners demonstrates that the relationship between small businesses and councils in London remains positive.”
“The FSB is proud to support the Small business friendly Borough Awards,” Steve Warwick, Chair of the London region of the Federation of Small Businesses, said. “At a time when small firms in London are faced with an increase in the cost of doing business it is vitally important that Boroughs look to support their local economies. From positive procurement policies to effective business support offerings, there is a lot that can be done. We need Boroughs to share best practice to support our micro and small business community that make up over 99% of all businesses in the capital – and these awards provide the right platform to showcase that best practice.”
This year’s ceremony was held at the Kingsway Hall Hotel in Holborn and was attended by figures from the public and private sector.