The Sheffield Business Club (SBC) will become the representative organisation for the new Sheffield City Region Small Business Forum.
The collaboration between SBC and the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce has been developed following discussions between the organisations on how they can co-operate for the benefit of members and the business community.
Sheffield City Region’s Small Business Forum, created by the Chamber, will bring together a range of business leaders to identify and prioritise the key issues to aid growth. It will promote and support the small business sector and represent it locally, regionally and nationally.
SBC currently organise a range of networking events to offer its members the opportunity to share information, ideas and trade with each other.
Peter Rawlinson, chair of the SBC, said: “We have operated successfully in this region for nearly 25 years as a not-for-profit independent networking organisation, and we shall continue to do so.
“The Board has been considering how the club might distinguish itself from other networking organisations. This opportunity to become the lobbying vehicle and voice representing the interests of small business in the Sheffield City Region, through the creation of this new forum, fitted well with our long-term objectives.
“As the organisation tasked with running the forum we would look to attend events and collaborate with the chairs of all the other Chamber forums to discuss ways in which each sector can play its part in driving the region’s economy. We’re very excited by the prospect and our new network programme will be published in advance of the launch of the new forum in January.”
Sheffield Chamber has offered to support SBC with backroom functions such as marketing, administration and promotion of events, while each organisation will encourage membership for the other.
Richard Wright, executive director of Sheffield Chamber, added: “The Chamber and SBC have shared objectives in promoting the needs of small businesses in order that they become more successful.
“Small business is critical to the growth of the economy and forms a major part of the regional service industry and manufacturing supply chains. It is a major employer and small and medium businesses form the majority of the total number of businesses in the region and the UK.
“They also form the majority of our members and we wanted them to have a distinct voice but did not want to create yet another group that further complicates the business landscape.”