Membership of Small Business Focus is just £50 a year.
All you have to do is fill in the membership form....
We're a proactive, not-for-profit organisation where membership is open to all organisations having less than 100 staff within the BANES area.
The B&NES ENTREPRENEURS’ CLUB, set up by Small Business Focus, aims to provide support to all micro and small businesses within the region, whether they are well-established, in the start-up phase or still at the “Big Idea” stage.
Free weekly meetings focus on the resources, skills and knowledge needed to run a small business efficiently, effectively and successfully. Each meeting also includes networking opportunities, plus free refreshments. The meetings take place on Tuesdays, from 6.30 pm until 8.30 pm at different inspirational venues.
This is our first news update for a little while, as we have been making a number of key changes and improvements to our operation, including new branding, additions to our committee and some significant developments in our relationship with B&NES Council. So apologies for the break in communications and read on – there is a lot to tell you, so no pretty pictures this time, just quick summaries to digest.
The first in a new series of quarterly meetings with the Executive Cabinet took place recently, principally to establish the most effective methods of supporting and representing our members within the Council mechanism.
Many items were raised, discussed, some finalised there and then, others opened up for longer term attention, with the subjects being BRT, Small Business Champion programme, business taxes, councillor portfolios, planning, methods of consultation and feedback, traffic, hotels, supermarkets and the broad platform of small business support in our region.
The simple summary is that we are an integral part of the Council’s consultation process and we have agreed to contribute as much as possible, on the basis that we are member-led and are duty bound to achieve a balance between your needs and the policies of Council, where there is ground for debate….Basically, the more people that join our group, the stronger our voice and the more persuasive we become.
We cannot stress enough how important this period of discussion is, as it will lead to the foundations of our relationship with the new Council being laid very quickly and decisively.
The newly created role of Champion for Graduate Retention and Small Business has been finalised and the person at the helm will be Councillor Ben Stevens (Widcombe). We are destined to be a key part of the work that is required of this role and we need your feedback and support to maximise the opportunity.
In addition to regular monthly meetings with B&NES Council, we shall have advanced notification of key initiatives and policies taking shape, in order to facilitate a reasonable and representative round of consultation with our business community – and that means you.
We have been successful in securing a modest level of funding from B&NES Policies and Partnerships Department to launch this initiative, initially in partnership with City of Bath College and The University of Bath.
It is an exciting programme that is aimed at providing REAL support and help to budding business owners at a time when it is arguably needed most….Early stages, but VERY exciting and there are opportunities for volunteers, sponsors and partners and, of course, participants that can be discussed by contacting Angela Ladd or Richard Hill, in the first instance.
How best to get as many people involved as possible, while retaining some sense of community, context and colectiveness in consultation, while building working relationships with EVERY business sector AND area within the B&NES footprint?
We are looking at a ‘Ward-by-Ward’ programme that would allow the informal appointment of a ‘Ward Champion’ to help focus in the real issues affecting business, while helping to build membership, a sense of community and initiatives that are specifically targeted at ‘micro-local issues’ that may otherwise not receive the airtime and attention they deserve.
We are delighted to welcome Peter Gradwell of Gradwell and Matthew Welch of Bath Law onto the operational committee and they strengthen the team by bringing considerable expertise and experience of running a business into the mix.
We hope to extend the committee further and would urge all those interested in being part of what we are trying to achieve to contact us…There will be a more formal process of election and confirmation at our first AGM scheduled for later this year (details to follow).
DO YOU KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING ON YOUR PATCH? …As you may be aware, the Council formally adopted the Public Realm and Movement Strategy for Bath City Centre in March 2010 and have subsequently been developing a programme of public realm improvement projects for Bath city centre.
The first major phase of delivery includes improvement schemes for High Street, Northumberland Place, Union Street and Stall Street, Cheap Street and Westgate Street, Sawclose, Orange Grove, Pulteney Bridge and Lower Broad Street. It has recently been agreed that the plans for High Street and Northumberland Place will come forward this year as the first major project within this programme.
This initiative is up and running, with a proposed budget of nearly £750,000 by collecting BID tax from 630 or so businesses being charged. Being charged does NOT mean that every one of those companies is ‘involved’ or ‘supporting’ the scheme as has been claimed in some quarters. Indeed, the level of response to the related survey and ballot was around 22% so by no means inclusive.
Now, it initially appears the spending will be on items already funded via Council Tax and other means, such as marketing the city to tourists/visitors (subscriptions to Bath Tourism Plus), cleaning the city – is the BID group paying the council now?). We are in discussion with Andrew Cooper (ex-City Centre manager now Bath BID Manager) and are arranging a meeting to work through the issues that affect our members and wider business community. We are also looking for a new representative of our own on the BID Board…are you interested?
During our recent discussions with the Council, the subject of re-launching the awards programme, in association with the Council, which ran during 2009/2010, came up. These differ greatly from any other awards as they are targeted specifically and only at small and medium sized enterprises, are chosen exclusively on merit and performance by a panel of third party judges with the whole thing existing as a not-for-profit operation. Question is, would you like to see something like this return?
We have been pressing the authorities to address the squeeze on smaller commercial units / spaces available in Bath centre and other areas within the region and the rents and rates being sought for those which remain. Are you having problems in this are? – Let us know
Our Twitter account is attracting a large number of followers and we want to gear up the momentum to provide a suitable platform to gather some feedback and comments on current issues as they happen and ideas on how we may best support you with any adverse issues…are you following us?
Congratulations to The Thoughtful Bread Company, who we have supported since their pre-launch days, in gaining a coveted Good Housekeeping Food Award – go and see them in Green Park Station.
We were honoured to present am award to City of Bath College's "Entrepreneur of the Year" (Yassin El-Filali) and underlines our long-term commitment to mentoring and supporting the emerging and future business talent within our colleges and universities.
We continue to hold open discussions with other support groups, such as FOBRA, Better Bath, and BNI that share our beliefs but do not directly have lobbying and consultation with the Council as part of their remit and would be delighted to extend our network to include others groups that you may be involved with.
We have played our third session in the Tuesday Boules League, of which we are Co-Sponsors. In the absence of previous participants Angela Ladd and Tony Williams; Cary Bush very kindly made up the numbers. Our first match provided us with our first win (9-2) then we duly dispatched one of the strongest teams in the field by 9-1. Flan Obrien's Pub were our last opponents who were up to the challenge, defeating us 2-5 in a tight game. Do you fancy a game? Get in touch to make arrangements
During the month of October, businesses in Bath have been voting on the proposal to implement a Business Improvement District (BID) in Bath.
A BID, is a business led initiative designed to suit the needs of businesses in a local area and generally focus on:
From 1st to 28th October 2010 A majority of the Business ratepayers in the proposed BID are who voted, voted in favour of the proposal, both by aggregate rateable value and numbers voting.
Turnout 272 (44%) / In Favour by number 155 (57%) / In Favour by rateable value £19,282,500 (62%)
A Business Improvement District will be established in Bath and will commence on 1st April 2011.
The BID will deliver the three component set out in the BID proposal. Management of the city centre environment, marketing & events and costs saving initiatives for businesses. The BID will generate c£ 3.5m over the next five years.
Colin Skellett, Chairman of Future Bath Plus was delighted to see that the BID had been successfully endorsed by the business community. “Future Bath Plus, as the proposer of the BID in Bath, is pleased that the proposal will go forward. It is vital that we do everything possible to support the economic vibrancy in Bath during these challenging economic times. The BID will give businesses the mechanism to directly help and influence their trading environment in a positive and constructive way.”
Simon Pullen, Chair of the Steering Group and General Manger for SouthGate Bath, said “The BID proposal has drawn together all sectors of the business community. The Steering Group from all sectors of the business community have worked hard in propagating the concept of the BID and the additional value it will give to all businesses in the city centre area.”
Jonathan O’Shea, Chief Executive of St John’s Hospital and Vice Chair of the BID Steering Group also welcomed the positive endorsement by the business community. “The process of implementing a BID is challenging, and much voluntary time and effort has been given in order to ensure a successful outcome. Now the hard work really begins as the steering group prepare for the start of the BID in April 2011.”
Andrew Cooper, Bath City Centre Manager added, “This will be greatly beneficial for Bath business. We all want to see Bath prosper, and this partnership approach, which is business led, is a tried and tested mechanism which will deliver. Achieving a successful outcome is fantastic news and will make a real and significant difference over the next five years.”
Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council, Councillor Francine Haeberling said: “Bath and North East Somerset Council fully support the concept of the Business Improvement District"
“As a major landlord in the city, we recognise the importance of working in partnership with the businesses community in doing everything possible to ensure Bath remains competitive in business and can be enjoyed by visitors and residents alike. The benefits of the BID will affect us all.”
A BID is a business-led initiative that gives businesses the power to manage their own operating environment so that it directly benefits their business, their employees and their clients and customers. Together, businesses identify projects and services that they think are needed to add value to existing services and agree, through a formal ballot process, to a level of investment to ensure the delivery of these. There are currently (104) BIDs around the UK, of which (64) are in town and city centres.
The story so far…
The creation of Future Bath Plus grew out of a spirit of willingness from both the private and public sectors, represented by Bath Chamber of Commerce and Initiative and Bath and North East Somerset Council, to work together to achieve improvements which will benefit business, residents and visitors.
There is a widespread desire to enhance the appearance of the City and the surrounding area and an enthusiasm to pursue a more effective and co-ordinated approach to the management of Retail, Tourism and Cultural events.
The Future Bath Plus Board provides strategic direction to three key areas, City Centre Management, Tourism and Culture. Ensuring that these sectors work in partnership is instrumental to a successful and well managed destination.
City Centre Management was established in 2008 and appointed Andrew as City Centre Manager. Andrew has long experience of the retail sector and is a member of the Association of Town Centre Managers and British BIDs.
The three year business plan of the City Centre Management Board identified the need to look at the viability of a Business Improvement District (BID). A number of others towns in the region have already implemented a BID including Taunton, Worcester, Torquay, Falmouth and Truro, and indeed Bristol is now in its second term having successfully renewed its mandate with businesses in the Autumn of 2008.
We have consulted businesses in a number of ways over the past year to develop a BID Proposal which will be distributed to all businesses in the city.
For further information on and an objective view of the BID you can contact any committee member of Small Business Focus or, to directly access published information, visit www.bathbid.co.uk
In January 2000 we created a new wood on Bath’s south slopes above Weston village.
With access from Fonthill Road, behind Kingswood School, the wood is an oasis of tranquillity with 20,035 trees of 45 different varieties, 1,500 of deer fencing, picnic table and benches. 2000 snowdrops were planted to complement the thousands of primroses and other native wild flowers. This year the wood won the outstanding achievement award from Britain in Bloom. We only lease the land, but in the lease is an option to buy valid from 19/12/2009 to 19/12/2014. To date we have raised £85,000 towards the land purchase. More funds are needed - can you help? As we are a registered charity, any donations are tax deductible.
For further information please contact Richard Cox on 07973 540960.
There are pluses (loads of people passing by and noticing your shop) and minuses (potential customers stuck in hour-long traffic jams) to running a business on one of the South West’s busiest main roads.
All of the services for this side of Bath are under the London Road in Bath and we have had 10 weeks of monumental traffic jams, due to a two feet diameter gas main replacement. Residents and businesses here heard about the imminent works from Radio Bristol, asking me for a comment (the notice letter from Morrison (the contractor) arrived just one day before work started).Work has been sporadic and slow, in our opinion and the last straw came when the road section outside my shop was totally railed off as a builders` yard, preventing deliveries. My customers were greeted by a huge, noisy generator emitting exhaust fumes and depositing a black tar like substance two feet from my shop door. The workmen politely refused to move the machine and I now understand why Morrison vehicles do not display a phone number, in fact, neither does their website (except for the press office which I called). Morrison was indignant when I said my next call would be to BBC Radio Bristol, but they DID give me their Bristol office number. Morrison’s Mr Lamb was apologetic but said we were given plenty of notice. I disagreed - even Executive Councillor for Traffic and Transport, Cllr. Gerrish had not been informed in advance! Mr Lamb claimed to have fulfilled their legal requirement by informing council Highways Department officers. So there it is - council officers had not informed the executive councillor, to whom they report, or the local rate and council tax payers whom they serve. One thing is certain- not a single head will roll. If YOU have a similar problem, here is that Morrison Bristol number: 0117 9515223.
A39 Hallatrow Hill - road closure between the hours of 0700 to 1900,16th August to 20th August inclusive. The road closure will affect the section of road between the ROSEWELL FARM HOME FOR THE ELDERLY in High Littleton and Hallatrow Road. The A39 / Hallatrow Road Junction will not be affected by the road works closure.
North Road, Combe Down - road closure between the hours of 1900 to 0700, 23rd August to 27th (finishing on morning of 28th) August inclusive. To rationalise the required road closures these works will probably be undertaken in either two or three phases, completing one phase at a time. The road closures will affect the section of road between the 'turning area' on Bradford Road (adjacent to the MOD entrance), across the top of Ralph Allen Drive, and along to Shaft Road. We are still awaiting information from the utilities about works at the Ralph Allen Drive/The Avenue junction before final arrangements can be made for this site.
Claverton Down Road, Claverton Down - road closure between the hours of 1900 and 0700, 31st August to 2nd September (morning of 3rd September) inclusive. The road works will affect the section of road from and including the junction at Down Road to the junction with Limekiln Lane. The ‘road closure’ will probably be implemented from Down Road to the junction with Brassknocker Hill for traffic management purposes.
Fosseway, Englishcombe - Carriageway stabilisation works will be undertaken on the carriageway north of the Tunley Road junction - under manually controlled traffic lights, during restricted hours (probably 0930 to 1530) for up to 2 weeks commencing (provisionally) 2nd August. Upon completion of the works, the road will be resurfaced under a full road closure, 1900 to 0700 hours, dates to be advised. (Probably sometime between September 4th and September 15th) Due to the strategic importance of the Fosseway to the transport network, works will be planned to minimise disruption as much as possible. (Sorry this information is rather vague, but arrangements are still being finalised with the various contractors)