The managing director of the UK’s largest joined up networking organisation 4Networking recently met with members of the Government’s SME Growth Directorate for a discussion facilitated by South Swindon MP Robert Buckland.
The meeting was held at the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy in London after one of Robert's constituents – a 4Networking member – asked for his support.
4Networking MD Jason Dutton, said: “For an organisation like 4Networking to have a voice when it comes to business at a national level, we need to become part of the conversation proactively and this meeting was a very positive first step.
“I shared 4Networking’s story, its model and national reach which appeared to be of great interest to the team. They also expressed a desire to find ‘new’ voices from the SME community beyond the organisations they already deal with.”
4Networking – which has thousands of members from micro businesses and sole traders to corporate members – sees 2018 as an important year of change for its membership and wishes to have its say over issues which matter.
These include late payment, the VAT threshold, business rates, exporting, shortage of skilled workers and support for start-up businesses.
Jason said: “We also discussed Brexit and GDPR. Our members feel growing uncertainty about our relationship with the EU post Brexit and they are concerned that while there has been some larger industry sector analysis there appears to be little impact assessment regarding SMEs.
“The same uncertainty can be felt regarding GDPR. While there has been acknowledgement that the rules will be relaxed for SMEs there is little clarification of what that means at an operational level.
“Time is running out and as we move into 2018 there is a real need for clarity and guidance so costly mistakes are not made.”
4Networking is now fully committed to an ongoing dialogue with the Government and Shadow Government to ensure the voices of its members are heard. The organisation has more than 250 active groups across the UK with thousands of members. Its Facebook group alone has more than 23,000 participants.
There are 4Networking groups in Swindon, Chippenham and Devizes.