Following the launch of a new support fund by the City of York Council which aims to provide up to 1000 businesses with free membership of the Federation of Small Business (FSB), a range of micro businesses from different sectors have been taking advantage of the positive benefits of membership. Available to businesses with 30 or fewer employees, membership gives access to a range of services, covering everything from legal advice to cyber protection and insurance.
We talked to one York business owner, Alice Etherington who runs Your Memories Photography, about how she has benefited from FSB membership to support the development of her business and innovate and adapt following the coronavirus outbreak.
Alice has also been successful in applying for the City of York Council’s micro business grants scheme, which provides funding of up to £1,000 for 1,000 self-employed, micro and small businesses who need it most. Alice explains what this grant means to her and the plans she has to diversify her business and create opportunities for growth in new areas using the funding.
Alice Etherington is a professional photographer specialising in wedding and events photography. Her company was founded in 2018 and as a sole trader, Alice looks after all areas of the business including marketing, advertising and developing her website. As a result of the coronavirus outbreak many of the photography jobs that she had lined up for the summer have had to be cancelled or postponed and as a result Alice was looking for ways to use this time effectively to plan and look at ways to grow and diversify her business. She applied for both the FSB membership and the City of York Council micro business grant – with the aim for both to help her boost her business.
“I am thrilled to be getting the opportunity to access FSB membership, especially during this time when I am focusing on how to plan ahead, future-proof my business and look at ways of expanding. As a small business owner, it’s incredibly helpful to have access to the advice and guidance of the experts at the FSB on so many different topics. Areas such as business insurance and ensuring I have the right liability cover are hugely important for me and it’s great to know I can get the support of advisors at the FSB who really understand the realities of operating a small business.
There are so many useful and interesting resources available – including webinars and networking events – which will be of real value to my business long-term. Looking at the website I feel that whatever issue I may have as a business owner, there is support there for me and professionals I can get in touch with to help point me in the right direction. I am looking forward to utilising all the tools and support available to help me plan ahead for my business.”
In addition to the FSB membership Alice was also successful with applying for a City of York micro business grant – which aims to help small, micro and one person businesses experiencing financial hardship due to coronavirus. Alice plans to use the funding to explore a new area for her business – product photography, using her stunning natural landscapes to create gifts available for purchase via an Etsy shop.
Alice said: “With a large part of my business being wedding photography, the coronavirus outbreak has obviously had a huge effect on the jobs I had lined up for the next few months. With the grant funding, I really wanted to look at how I could diversify my business and use my photos in a different way to help boost income during this time. I am really excited about the opportunities the grant has given me to purchase some new equipment that will help with extreme close-ups to create high quality product shots and create a new online shop. The grant will make such a difference and enable me to try something new and expand my business so a huge thank you to City of York Council for this.”