Small Business Fellowship
Understanding of the small-business sector has always been regarded as an essential element of the work of the Industry and Parliament Trust. Most Company Fellowships (which usually involve a parliamentarian working with a FTSE250 company) also have a small-business element.
The IPT also offers a dedicated, intensive Small Business Fellowship, consisting of 18 days of placements over 18 - 24 months. The Fellowship deals with a parliamentarian's specific sectoral interests (e.g. agriculture) but also more general issues facing small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), including: skills; regulation; employment law; finance; and entrepreneurship.
Structured placements and visits are paired with briefings and discussions with policy experts from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).
The IPT works closely with small-business organisations such as the FSB and BCC to provide a rich and varied programme that encompasses the relevant issues. A small-business Fellowship might include:
- A visit to the small-business unit of a high-street bank.
- Working with a major UK financial-services consultancy, meeting clients from SMEs and learning about the challenges that they face.
- Working with an innovative SME, seeing how entrepreneurship is encouraged and learning about "best practice".
- Visiting a local small-business support centre to see the issues that SMEs face and learn more about the structure of government-funded advice services.
- Gaining hands-on experience of modern apprenticeships, seeing how a local company has invested in staff training and improved the skillset of its workforce.
A small-business Fellowship also provides first-hand experience of success and failure in SMEs, as well as insights into the impact of Westminster and EU regulation and legislation.