Founded in 1977, the FPB’s main drawing point for budding entrepreneurs is that it represents small and medium-sized businesses – not their larger counterparts. Active in London, Brussels, Edinburgh and Cardiff, the FPB has around 25,000 members that employ a total of over 600,000 people.
The FPB says is exists to ‘make effective changes to the rules and regulations that affect small businesses, to improve recognition of the role that SMEs play, and to offer practical measures to businesses to make their lives easier.’
The organisation is the only fully represented UK business group active in Europe through UEAPME – which represents crafts, trades and businesses across the EU. In layman’s terms, this means that FPB has a significant voice in Brussels when it comes to business regulations and red tape.
Although the FPB claims significant success in its anti-red tape campaigns, it is not just a lobby group. The organisation provides members with access to a range of money-saving products, ranging from discounted phone calls and line rental to legal insurance and discounted merchant fees.
The cost: Membership costs from £100 a year.
For more information, go to www.fpb.co.uk
Much like the FPB, the FSB serves a dual role – to lobby the government on behalf of small firms and help entrepreneurs with the running of their businesses.
On the campaigning side, the FSB has dedicated Westminster, Glasgow, Cardiff and Belfast offices to pressure ministers and has representatives on the Small Business Council, which advises the government on enterprise issues.
The FSB has claimed success in influencing a number of government policies, including exemptions from trade union laws, dropping of the fuel tax escalator and the removal of corporation tax for businesses with profits below £10,000.
The FSB’s members receive 24-hour a day support, with the organisation’s dedicated legal helpline fielding over 100,000 calls last year from concerned businesses. Services provided include business banking, insurance, broadband, medical over and a travel service. In 2001, the FSB even paid out £500,000 to members affected by the foot and mouth crisis.
Formed in 1974, the FSB has 185,000 members across 33 regions and 230 branches.
The cost: Membership fees start at £130, depending on the number of employees.
For more information, go to www.fsb.org.uk