Members and guests of Horsham Business Club had a chance to quiz the council’s cabinet member for the local economy - and to hear how he plans to help local businesses.
Over a working breakfast at Cisswood Hotel Roger Paterson (Con, Pulborough and Coldwaltham), who managed an international division of the Stanley Works before going into local politics, talked about how to create local jobs that will last.
He acknowledged the vast number of businesses that are too small to qualify for government aid - there are believed to be around 15,000 home-based businesses in the area.
He added that while grants are hard to come by, low-interest loans are available for those seeking capital investment.
As the instigator of MicroBiz and other events that champion local industry and promote networking, such as the Food and Drink Festival,Mr Paterson has tried to address these issues.
He said bringing local businesses together to pool experience as well as services was crucial.
This year’s MicroBiz, held in Horsham’s Drill Hall in May, had over 700 visitors, with around 40 businesses given the chance to network.
The free skills seminars on offer were particularly important, he said, as it was proven that small businesses that took up training opportunities were more profitable.
He said that faster broadband was a priority to help rural businesses and HDC was developing its web-based information service with the new website Think Horsham.
HBC chairwoman Juliet Manning said: “I urge other small businesses to contact the council to see what help is available and discuss their needs.”
HBC is a non-profit networking group that meets on Tuesdays from 6.45-8.30am.
Annual membership costs £100 and there are currently some vacancies.
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