Croydon businesses have one last opportunity to contribute to a new report recommending action the council and partners can take to better support the growth and success of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Keen to boost the success of local businesses and further strengthen Croydon’s economy, earlier this year the council set up the Small Business Commission to investigate the challenges faced by local SMEs when trying to grow.
The commission’s initial findings have been published in an interim report to be presented at cabinet next Monday, alongside a draft action plan which the council and other public bodies will use to strategically plan how they can help local businesses move forward.
Made up of representatives from local SMEs and business groups, the commission surveyed over 1,500 local businesses, held focus groups and individual interviews with business owners across the borough to understand the common barriers faced by Croydon’s business community.
Preliminary findings indicated that problems accessing funding, the rising cost of business rates, recruiting and keeping suitable staff and finding affordable business space, were some of the most common obstacles to local companies’ growth.
Promoting the funding opportunities available to SMEs, the creation of a bi-monthly newsletter highlighting opportunities for grants, funding, networking and support information and better promotion and wayfinding signage to the borough’s district centres are among the recommendations made so far by the commission.
Councillor Mark Watson, cabinet member for economy and jobs
“I welcome the initial findings of the Small Business Commission, which recognises Croydon’s business community’s ambitions and its determination to succeed in today’s competitive global market.
“I am pleased a number of achievable actions have been put forward that will enable the council and its partners to further support local businesses to grow, creating a thriving local economy and new job opportunities for Croydon residents. I’d encourage all Croydon SMEs to share their views on the initial recommendations and help shape the final report and action plan.”
Andrew Bauer, chairman of the Small Business Commission added: “We’ve heard the views of hundreds of local businesses and it’s clear from our investigation Croydon has a dynamic, innovative and ambitious business community. I’d urge all businesses to read our findings and share their feedback with us, particularly if their views and experience differs to those we have spoken to.”
Any contributions to the report should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org