FSB has hosted more than 50 events in Kent this year, including sessions on Dementia Awareness at Cafe 1809 with Dame Kelly Holmes

Over the past year, FSB members have organised, initiated and hosted a range of different events and activities in order to raise the profile of independent businesses.  These local events provide an opportunity for self-employed and owner-managers to get together, collaborate and find new clients and suppliers.

With the backup of Kent FSB Steering Group members David Milham and Stephen Askew, FSB members volunteer their time and work with Kent Development Manager Alison Parmar to ensure successful events for business.

Here’s a rundown of the past year’s Kent activity:

  1. Awards and sponsorships – we have been proud to support the following awards in 2017; Kent Creative Arts Awards, Kent Press and Broadcast Awards, Kent Independent Business Awards and the Grow Kent Business Show and Awards. FSB Kent also chosen to sponsor Kent Vision Live exhibition and conference and the weekly internet Business Bunker Radio Show.
  2. Liaising and lobbying – key topics this year have included Brexit, Business Rates and infrastructure. Because of a public letter to the Department for Transport spearheaded by FSB and including London Chambers of Commerce and the Port of Dover, the issue of the Lower Thames Crossing dominated the news on BBC South Eat today and BBC Radio Kent this year. By raising it as a public issue, we encouraged decision makers in Government to get on with the job of easing traffic in the county.
  3. Networking – from Bank of England round table meetings to networking events in Ashford, Maidstone, Faversham and Tonbridge, since January this year FSB has hosted 50 events meeting more than 700 members and non-members face-to-face.  Guest speakers have covered topics including Brexit, cybercrime, gambelling, investment and funding.
  4. Skills members tell us there is a skills gap; that when they try to recruit they cannot find the skilled staff they need. In response to this, FSB members led by Paul Andrews, CEO of Jobs in Kent, have devised a free, practical two- hour workshop called Skills 30:30. At Skills 30:30, ebusiness owners visit a school to speed network with students.  As a result of these workshops, five people have found full-time employment with help from the Kent Supported Employment Team and businesses have linked up with students for mentoring and internship opportunities.  We look forward to running more Skills30:30 events in 2018.  
  5. Women in business – across the county, FSB Kent and Medway have hosted 17 women in business brunches this year and met with more than 200 women in business. Guest speaker have include bloggers, clothes designers, property developers and voice coaches.  Driven by Deborah Turner, the activity raises the profile of women’s contribution to the economy and supports women looking to find flexible work options and develop their business ideas.

All this, and yet the year is still not over!  We are looking ahead to two great events – a social media training day in London on 30 November with online whizz Lucy Hall, and to round off the year, a drinks reception at the Houses of Parliament on 14 December. Find out about all our events by following us on Twitter @FSBKent or checking out our events page.