Black Country councils’ assistance for small business recognised

Councils shine at awards for Small Business Friendliness.

Black Country councils are celebrating after having some of their exemplary work with small and medium sized firms recognised at the Federation of Small Businesses’ Staffordshire and West Midlands Local Authority Small Business Friendly Awards.

The four local authorities which make up the Black Country, Sandwell, Dudley, Walsall and the City of Wolverhampton Council were all winners in the Best in Class Local Authority awards, Sandwell Council came away with the top award of the day for being Best Overall Council for small business friendliness, Sandwell scooped a second award on the day in the procurement category, thanks to some pioneering work in helping SME supply chains improve their buying skills, competitiveness and work-winning skills.

Other award winners were Walsall Council in the skills category, Dudley Council for their business engagement programme and Wolverhampton City Council for their outstanding work aligned to business support on the cross-regional AIM and GOLD initiatives.

Karen Woolley, Development Manager for FSB said: “There are some great initiatives happening across the Black Country which really help to level the procurement playing field for smaller firms – we thank you for your work on these projects.”

At the start of the ceremony Karen acknowledge the difficult conditions under which local authorities are operating, with challenges that include budget cuts and diminishing resources. Regardless of this, she said, the standard of entries had been extremely high: “We have once again had an incredibly difficult time reaching decisions on the winning entries – such was the outstanding nature of the projects and campaigns put forward.”

Paul Brown, Chair of Competitiveness Theme Advisory Board at the Black Country LEP added: “I am delighted that the four Black Country local authorities have been recognised for the work they are doing across our area to support small businesses. Together, through the Black Country Growth Hub we are working to ensure we provide the right support and expertise to support small businesses as they develop, grow and deliver products and services made in the Black Country to our region and beyond.”

The awards ceremony took place at the Eaton Hotel in Edgbaston, Birmingham on Thursday 12th July. FSB local authority awards are said to represent the best work, projects and business support initiatives for micro, small and medium sized firms and are attended by cross-region Council’s from Greater Birmingham, Staffordshire, Black Country and wider West Midlands.

Sandwell’s unique approach of forming SME cluster groups of firms to pool their resources and work together on local regeneration projects earned them the best overall council award.

Black Country Councils were represented by Cabinet Members, Council Chiefs and Regeneration Officers at the awards lunch at the Eaton Hotel in Edgbaston on Thursday 12th July.
For further information on how the Black Country LEP can support your businesses visit here