The fifth Small Business Friendly Borough Awards have recognised the pivotal role played by London’s boroughs in supporting and promoting small and micro businesses across the capital.
The awards are run by London Councils, which represents the 32 boroughs and the City of London, and the London region of the Federation of Small Businesses, and give boroughs recognition for effective and imaginative schemes that encourage local entrepreneurship.
This year London Borough of Croydon was crowned the Best All Round Small Business Friendly Borough for successfully implementing wide-ranging policies to support and develop its local micro and small business community – which make up 93% of Croydon’s businesses.
These businesses have been supported by a number of council programmes following Croydon’s business-led Small Business Commission in 2017, which improved an already innovative business environment.
These have included the 2018 Croydon Means Business programme, which held 175 events and workshops with over 4,500 business delegates in attendance, Croydon Works, a free job brokerage that has placed more than 600 residents into work since September 2017 and the Croydon Enterprise Loan Fund, which gives local business access to finance.
London Borough of Lewisham won the inaugural award for Best Programme to Reduce Impact of Crime on Small Businesses. This new category celebrates efforts by boroughs to prevent and tackle crime affecting micro and small businesses.
Lewisham was recognised for Safer Lewisham Business Crime Reduction Partnership (BCRP), a membership scheme where businesses work with the police, council, and other interested stakeholders to reduce crime, violence, anti-social behaviour, and other crimes that affect the profitability of businesses.
Royal Borough of Greenwich was commended in this new category for its efforts to reduce the impact of crime on small businesses in Woolwich Town Centre.
Cllr Clare Coghill, London Councils’ Executive member for Business, Europe and Good Growth, said:
“Small businesses account for an impressive 99% of London’s enterprises. In fact, nearly half of all those employed in the capital work for them. This demonstrates how small businesses not only enrich London through the goods and services they provide, but also play a crucial role in local communities. We are proud to recognise the councils that support small businesses, and in doing so, London itself.”
“The London Councils Small Business Friendly Borough Awards highlight the importance of building good relationships between boroughs and small businesses. Doing so unlocks potential, encourages innovation, and benefits everyone involved.”
Ahead of the awards a seminar was held between to discuss the importance of building links between businesses, boroughs and police. Speakers included:
- Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime
- Patrick Holdaway, Chief Inspector - Head of Operations at the National Business Crime Centre
- Representative from the four boroughs shortlisted in Best Programme to Reduce Impact of Crime on Small Businesses: Barnet, Croydon Greenwich and Lewisham.
Cllr Jas Athwal, London Councils’ Executive member for Crime and Public Protection, said:
“Small businesses play a vital role in our economy but are held back from reaching their full potential due to criminal and anti-social behaviour. I am pleased to see the creation of a new category, Best Programme to Reduce Impact of Crime on Small Businesses, to highlight solutions to this deeply concerning problem.
“London boroughs are serious about the role we play in reducing crime and violence, and these awards will help share good practice. In bringing together community partners, we can ensure that this complex challenge is tackled with the urgency and teamwork it demands to protect our local businesses and makes our communities safer.”
Michael Lassman, London Regional Chair, FSB, said:
“We are delighted to celebrate the efforts of the London boroughs at these seminal awards. Since the May 2018 elections we have met with around 30 boroughs to discuss their support for the self-employed, micro and small businesses in their boroughs. These awards compliment the partnership work we are looking to undertake with boroughs – and we are keen to see boroughs sharing best practice in the key areas of procurement, reducing business crime and supporting local trade in the coming months and years ahead.”
Other award winners included:
- London Borough of Haringey, for Best Small Business Friendly Procurement to Support Local Trade. The Haringey Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) is a procurement initiative which proactively supports local businesses to secure council contracts and other trade opportunities. In 2018/19, the DPS helped Haringey businesses to win £24.5 million worth of contracts.
- London Borough of Hackney for Best Programme of Support for Small Business. The Hackney Business Network provides a wide ranging, successful programme of support for SMEs in the borough, with accessible and clear routes to business support information. These include its website, investinhackney.org and its twitter account, @hackneybusiness.
Notes to Editors
The FSB and London Councils’ fifth annual Small Business Friendly Borough Awards commends councils for implementing wide-ranging policies to support and develop the local micro and small business community.
Click for more information on the Small Business Friendly Borough Awards. This also contains a review of London boroughs’ approach to business support.
Full details of all of the Awards are below:
Best All-Round Small Business Friendly Borough
This award commends councils for successfully implementing wide-ranging policies to support and develop the local micro and small business community.
Winner – London Borough of Croydon
Micro enterprises make up 93% of Croydon’s businesses, and have been supported by a number of programmes following the 2017 business-led Small Business Commission. These have included the 2018 Croydon Means Business programme, which held 175 events and workshops with over 4,500 business delegates; Value Croydon, which ensures local businesses have access to council, contractor and anchor partner contracts; Croydon Works, a free job brokerage which has placed more than 600 residents into work since September 2017; the Good Employer Network, a Croydon Council accreditation for borough business; and Croydon Enterprise Loan Fund, which gives local business access to finance.
Best Programme of Support for Small Businesses
This award recognises programmes of support around a theme which have encouraged and supported the borough’s micro and small business community.
Winner- London Borough of Hackney
The Hackney Business Network provides a wide-ranging programme of support for SMEs in the borough. The network was set up to improve the Council’s engagement with and reach to businesses, provide an accessible, recognisable and clear route to business support information, and support new businesses settling in Hackney and connecting with the local community. The programme includes a website and twitter account that provide business news and support signposting, opportunities, place and sector-based information and networking links. Hackney also has five area specific business forums that take place three times a year, where businesses can network and meet face to-face, share area information and initiatives and present their services to peers. Its monthly newsletter shares information about business news, events, funding, support and training opportunities, and an approved workspace provider list that is assessed and compiled by Hackney Council. Providers are committed to hosting and supporting businesses at different stages of development and across the growing sectors of the borough’s economy, providing a range of affordable, flexible and grow-on space for Hackney businesses.
Best Small Business Friendly Procurement to Support Local Trade
This award celebrates council procurement activities that have enabled local micro and small businesses to gain access to public sector and other local contracts
Winner- London Borough of Haringey
The Haringey Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS)
Haringey’s package of support includes offering an innovative procurement initiative, which proactively supports local businesses to secure Council contracts and other trade opportunities One of the flagships projects is the Haringey Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS), an electronic system used to purchase commonly used goods, works or services. The impact and benefits of the DPS to local businesses and the Haringey economy has been significant. In 2018/19, the DPS led to more than £100m of expenditure with 500 Haringey-based organisations. A total of 346 (76%) of suppliers registered on the DPS are within a 15-mile radius of the borough, with a total spend of £55m. In 2018/19, the DPS helped Haringey businesses to win £24.5m worth of contracts, whose number totalled 7,255. The aim of Haringey’s strategy is to enable local businesses to increase trade and supply chain opportunities, increase revenue and profitability, and expand and generate new jobs for the local economy and residents.
Best Programme to Reduce Impact of Crime on Small Businesses
This award celebrates efforts by boroughs to prevent and tackle crime effecting micro and small businesses.
Winner- London Borough of Lewisham
Safer Lewisham Business Crime Reduction Partnership (BCRP)
A membership scheme where businesses come together alongside the police, council, and other interested stakeholders, to reduce crime, violence and anti-social behaviour that has negative impacts on the profitability of businesses, and the town centre. The partnership is locally managed and driven, which facilitates local business crime priorities. The BCRP looks after 120 businesses across both the day and night time economies, and is made of a team of individuals with community safety backgrounds. They are responsible for engaging with businesses, understanding their crime and safety requirements, and delivering a toolkit of prevention measures to address these. This allows the BCRP to act as both a business representative and a conduit between authorities. The BCRP also leads on setting up local business meetings, inviting relevant parties and providing a forum for businesses to share their concerns. Through membership, each business receives a state-of-the-art digital radio network which offers instant communication between businesses, allowing them to share real-time intelligence with each other when incidents take place. This has already proven successful during critical incidents, crime and disorder or sightings of prolific offenders. The radio network is secure and GDPR compliant.
Highly Commended – The Royal Borough of Greenwich
The Royal Borough of Greenwich has developed and implemented several complementary initiatives to prevent crime and reduce the impact of crime on small businesses. The Council’s programme has focused on Woolwich town centre. In an effort to address anti-social behaviour linked to street drinking, the borough has encouraged off-licenses to stop selling beers, lager or cider with an ABV higher than 6.5%. At present there are 110 businesses signed up to the scheme, which has made has led to a 10% drop in alcohol-related crime and anti-social behaviour in Woolwich since the campaign launch. Other initiatives include Love Woolwich campaign and Love Woolwich steering group, a corporate group including the police, which develops a cross cutting approach to anti-social behaviour. It has resulted in Woolwich Shopwatch, which creates a direct radio link between businesses members that have subscribed to the service with the CCTV monitoring centre and the Town Centre Policing Team; business charter, a charter between businesses and the Council that signifies an agreement to work together to address some of the root causes of the anti-social behaviour and crime; knife charter, developed by the Safer Greenwich Partnership to educate young people on the dangers of knife crime and limit access to knives and dangerous weapons; weekly town centre inspections; and the Community Safety and Business Engagement teams, which provide businesses with a range of practical crime prevention advice and information as well Security measures such as the installation of gates in back alleys behind shops and areas where people congregate to reduce anti-social behaviour.