Providing big help to smaller companies

Heather Smiles. Picture by FRANK REID

Heather Smiles. Picture by FRANK REID

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SMALL-SCALE companies in Hartlepool are in line for big help thanks to an initiative due to be launched within weeks.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in the North-East has revealed plans for regular surgeries so that members can get advice and guidance on key issues in industry.

It could be anything from help with Corporation Tax to contractual issues - anything which is of concern to the small trader.

The project will involve one of the FSB branches in the region taking it in turn to hold a surgery each month.

Hartlepool will be part of the project and branch chairman Heather Smiles explained: “People have issues to raise, but FSB meetings might be only every other month. That means they can’t raise the issue when they want to.

“Each branch will now hold a surgery once a month.

“It may be that Hartlepool holds one meeting one month and Darlington the next, but it means that people can get help and be pointed in the right direction.

“We may be all separate branches, but we are one region and we should be able to encourage people to look outside of their comfort zone.

“After all, this could be a chance for them to network with business people in other regions at a time when everyone is fighting for business.”

FSB regional officials are still ironing out the details of when and where the surgeries will be held and the scheme is likely to be up and running by Easter.

Heather said: “The issues that people might want to raise could be anything that affects their day-to-day running of their business.”

Heather is the newly appointed chairman of the Hartlepool branch of FSB which has 176 members. She said: “We are trying to boost our membership.”

She is also the owner of town firm Altered Images based at Hartlepool Enterprise Centre in Brougham Terrace. Altered Images is an embroidery firm first set up in 2006 and formerly known as Kameleon.

Anyone wanting to find out more about the Hartlepool branch of FSB can contact Heather on (01429) 265413.