Croydon’s Small Business Commission yesterday presented the findings of their investigation and recommended actions to boost the growth and success of local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
More than 100 businesses attended the event at the council’s Braithwaite Hall, where commissioners detailed the findings of their assessment of the challenges faced by Croydon SMEs when trying to grow. Set up by the council to investigate what can be done to better support local businesses who play an integral role in strengthening Croydon’s economy, the commission surveyed over 1,500 small companies, held focus groups and interviewed business owners across the borough to understand the barriers they faced.
The commissioners, who are representatives from local SMEs and business groups, found Croydon businesses could capitalise more on the diversity within the borough which would allow them to access other markets such as international trade contracts. Other findings included the difficulty SMEs faced in accessing funding, locating affordable move-on space, entering procurement chains of large companies, recruiting skilled staff and coping with the demand of increased costs, such as rising business rates.
The action plan details steps the council and its partners can take to help local businesses conquer obstacles in a number of areas including taxation, access to funding, procurement and international trade. Recommendations include lobbying government for London to be treated more fairly when business rates are set, positioning Croydon as a key player open for business and opportunity within the international business community and increasing the profile of business support available from different organisations within the borough.
Councillor Mark Watson, Cabinet Member for Economy and Jobs, said: “Croydon SMEs play an integral role to creating a strong and thriving local economy. The recommendations set out in the commission’s action plan will enable the council and its partners to better support local businesses and help them overcome some of the challenges identified. Next year will be the council’s year of business and I look forward to working closely with Croydon’s business network and the Small Business Commission to ensure local companies continue to develop and flourish.”
Andrew Bauer, chairman of the Small Business Commission, added: “The commission has listened to the views and experiences of hundreds of local businesses and the recommendations are based on the key challenges Croydon SMEs told us they faced. Croydon’s small business community is vibrant and determined to succeed, and the additional support of the council, its partners and the commissioners will really help local businesses reach their full potential.”
To read the commission’s full report click here.