I am currently FSB Area Leader for West Yorkshire.
This is a volunteer role in the member led organisation – the Federation of Small Businesses.
Alongside my fellow area leader Simon Monaghan and Development Manager Barney Mynott, we set and deliver the local strategic objectives for the West Yorkshire area, as well as organise and run events including our monthly networking events – #FSBconnect.
Find out more about the events we hold here – https://www.fsb.org.uk/regions/Yorkshire-The-Humber-and-North-East-England
The FSB is a year into the process of refreshing the organisation. Historically the structure was made up of Branch committees which reported to a Regional Committee, which has representatives at National Council and a Policy Representative. West Yorkshire was our Region and we had 5 branches; Kirklees, Wakefield, Calderdale, Leeds and Bradford. Members of Committees were elected at AGM’s and officer roles were held, including Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary and Treasurer. For over 2 years I held the Secretary role in the Kirklees Branch. Since the change, active Branches have been allowed to continue, and I have since become the Kirklees Leader.
As part of refresh, instead of holding monthly committee meetings and following a ridged structure and bureaucratic process, members are encouraged to form Special Interest Groups (SIGs), enabling them to be involved and active on issues that interest and affect them the most.
An Events and Marketing SIG has been created and I am leading on this, working with fellow West Yorkshire members, with the aim of establishing best practice and support events and activity across the area which assists small businesses to be the best that they can be. If you interested in getting involved or have something you to offer the group, please contact me.
When explaining what the FSB is, I always tell the story of how I understand the FSB started – 40 years ago a group of self employed / small business owners (men), met in the backroom of a pub in Blackpool. They came together to object against the Governments proposals to increase National Insurance for the Self Employed and campaigned and lobbied accordingly. As a result they were successful.
They soon decided that they needed to offer more than lobbying and sought benefits which could be offered to members. These have been expanded on across the years with the headline benefit that everyone talks about – the free business banking – however there is now a comprehensive list of benefits available for businesses. For more information please visit – https://www.fsb.org.uk/benefits.
The observant of you, you will remember the Government tried to propose the increase of national insurance for the self employed in the Spring Budget in 2017, which the FSB lobbied against and managed to get retracted over night.
There are many issues that the Federation of Small Businesses now lobby on and represent the small business community at policy level. We are renowned in corridors of parliament as a force to be reckoned with. We are also known and respected at local government (well at least locally in West Yorkshire). And this is something we are passionate to continue doing.
If you want to become a member of the FSB please get in touch so that I can point you in the right direction.