Until the COVID-19 pandemic, the key aim was to help develop Hertfordshire's SMEs bringing income, jobs and investment into the county. Now, it's about helping organisations, recover.
99% of circa 65,000 businesses in Hertfordshire are small companies, sole traders, charities and social enterprises. Most have limited reserves and many now face cashflow problems. The hospitality sector is particularly hit hard with many pubs, restuarants, theatres and music venues facing the risk of permanent closure. Most charities and social enterprises have seen a fall in donations and many have had to arrange emergency funding. Local authorities have reduced budgets and health & social care, affordable housing and community services face cutbacks in 2021.
As the recession deepens, more SMEs will need support and advice in areas such as funding, redundancies, creating / developing digital strategies and maintaining the health and wellbeing of their staff. In May, to help the recovery effort, we established the Herts Business Recovery Forum where businesses could have their say on what needs to be done to get the Hertfordshire economy "back on track". Sadly, however, the Forum has now closed as I was unable to secure development funding.
About the Founder
Nigel Farren, has 45 years + business experience in the private, public and third sectors. Former responsibilities include Head of UK Corporate Banking for a world top 10 bank; Managing Director, Europe for a world-leading publishing company; CEO of a social enterprise helping people in fuel poverty and Managing Director of four start-ups, building one into a market leader in Europe.
Current voluntary positions include member of the Hertfordshire Economic Resilience Cell working with Hertfordshire County Council, Herts LEP, Herts Chamber of Commerce, the University of Herts and other stakeholders to build a plan for the recovery and resilience of the local economy. Former voluntary positions included Adviser to the UK Government on community energy, Trustee of a social enterprise in the sport/leisure sector and Trustee of an umbrella organisation for the voluntary and community sector.