South Swindon MP Robert Buckland and Justin Tomlinson, MP for North Swindon, hosted business surgery on Friday 17 August, one of a series run nationwide by the Better Business Finance (BBF) initiative which aims to help businesses thrive by providing them with support and information, improving access to finance and strengthening understanding of the sector within banks.
Pictured, front, Justin Tomlinson MP, left and Robert Buckland, right, at Basepoint Business Centre with, centre, Tim Rivett of the Better Business Finance Initiative and back, from left, Jackie Kerr, vice-chair of the Swindon branch of the Federation of Small Businesses; Rachel Ilsley, FSB committee member; Andrew Copp, Business Mentor South West; Lyn Chapman, manager Basepoint Swindon; Emma Faramazi, chair of Swindon FSB; Alison Herbert, regional development manager of the FSB; Teejay Dowe, FSB Swindon committee member
Over 40 representatives from Swindon based businesses packed the meeting room at Basepoint Business Centre, at the event run in conjunction by the BBF and with the Swindon branch of the Federation of Small Businesses.
Robert Buckland said: “It was a great opportunity for local entrepreneurs to talk about their businesses with myself and Justin, as well as the BBA and to learn more about how they might benefit from having their own personal mentor.”
"Running a small business can be a lonely job and whilst it’s good to talk to family and friends, they can’t provide the straight, honest, commercially-minded advice that’s often needed. That’s why the government, in conjunction with some of the high street banks, have set up the mentoring scheme. It allows business owners to access a personal mentor, free of charge, to discuss any aspect of their business which is causing concern. It’s not so much for everyday problems, but for long term advice about the future of the business.
"Making the right decisions now about the way ahead can make or break many businesses, so it’s really important to be able to access the right advice.
Justin Tomlinson commented: "One of the issues raised was how businesses can access funds. There has been a great deal of publicity about the banks being reluctant to lend money in the form of overdraft facilities or business loans. This is a complex situation, but the British Bankers’ Association was very clear that it is keen to assist.
"A number of the attendees raised concerns that their bank had withdrawn funding, presenting huge challenges. The BBA promised to look at each individual case, which was a positive step forward. Small and medium-sized businesses are such a vital part of our local economy, so it’s crucial that they can access all the help and advice they need."
A similar business surgery is being planned to take place in Old Town.