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Local Small Business Friendly Awards 2016

Eastleigh scoops award for small business friendliness

Page last updated at 20 September 2016 at 15:49

Eastleigh has been named one of the south’s best boroughs in which to run a small business, thanks to the efforts of the council’s economic development team.

The authority has been highly commended in the eighth annual Local Small Business Friendly Awards 2016, for initiatives that promote a healthy local economy and champion the smaller business community. The awards are run by the Wessex branch of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

Eastleigh Borough Council’s award, in the Best All Round Small Business Friendly category, was presented by the former Shadow Business Secretary and ex-MP for Southampton Itchen, John Denham. Natalie Wigman, the council’s Corporate Director of Strategy, accepted the award on behalf of the council.

Among the initiatives recognised by the award are the council’s small business grants schemes, which have supported start-ups and funded training and other business needs for more established firms; a business advice service; free stall-space in the town’s market to coincide with major events, and a focus on how the council-owned Business Centre in Wessex House - the base for the Southern Entrepreneurs support agency - can better help local companies. Wessex House is also home to the Tec Hub which provides support, including free office space, to small digital and tech businesses.

Councillor Derek Pretty, the Council’s Cabinet Member leading on Business, Skills and Education, said: “We’re very pleased to receive this award - and it is a tribute to the hard work and commitment of our team to ensuring that Eastleigh Borough remains a prosperous place. The council is committed to supporting local companies, which it does through a number of programmes, and to continually improving our offer to smaller businesses.”

The council has previously won the FSB’s award for Best Small Business Friendly Engagement, where it was cited for its “proud record of supporting over 1,000 small businesses, and actively engaging with them in a variety of innovative ways.”

Neil Eames, Development Manager for FSB in Dorset, Hampshire and Isle of Wight, said: “These awards aim to acknowledge councils who are actively supporting local micro and small business, and we hope that the awards may provide a platform for councils to share their successes in promoting and championing local economic development. We are delighted to recognise the work undertaken by Eastleigh Borough Council and we are keen to help promote such examples of good practice to all councils, ultimately to help support our local business community. The FSB looks to the region’s local authorities to help create the environment for small businesses to survive and thrive, and we look forward to working with EBC and other councils to keep this momentum going.”

Businesses in Eastleigh Borough looking to find out more about the support and advice available can contact: economicdev@eastleigh.gov.uk, or visit: www.eastleigh.gov.uk/business. Southern Entrepreneurs - www.southernentrepreneurs.com - can be contacted at: hello@southernentrepreneurs.com .