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GFSB: Press release post Budget Speech

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The Gibraltar Federation of Small Businesses has reacted to yesterday’s Budget announcements.

The federation says that it was anticipated that, given the unique pressures created by the pandemic, on-going Brexit uncertainty and the state of the global economy more generally, this year’s budget “was going to be tough.”

A statement continued: “Even so, the GFSB’s view is that the budget places too much pressure on business in the private sector as the source of additional revenue raising measures. It is not just Government that is feeling the squeeze of the pandemic. Businesses too are still dealing with its effects, and struggling to recover.They are also still dealing with the very substantial revenue raising measures announced in 2021 including a significant rise in social insurance, and a 2.5% increase in corporate taxation.

“Whilst the GFSB has no interest in “austerity” type measures, it is completely legitimate to question why revenue raising measures in last year’s and this year’s budget are not matched by cost cutting and improved efficiency in the public sector. The Government has stated that it is borrowing money in order to cover the existing cost of public sector salaries, and is willing to borrow more to cover the cost of pay rises. The Gibraltar public sector workers already enjoy salaries of up to 40% above their UK equivalents, and the average salary in the public sector dwarfs the average in the private sector. The size of the public sector has grown very significantly in the last 10 years with an increased annual cost to match. Meanwhile our members tell us repeatedly that these increases in numbers and expenditure do not reflect a proportional increase in efficiencies and the number public services.

“Ultimately, borrowing costs are borne by taxpayers including local businesses.

“The budget does not contain any measures that will help to incentivise businesses and revenue generation. The GFSB’s continued calls for the Business Nurturing Scheme to be reinstated has again not been heeded. There is no sign of the implementation of the updated Business Licence Act to protect Gibraltar businesses from unfair competition. Incentives announced in the 2021 budget such as the marketing tax credit have been withdrawn.

“Some measures in particular, will effectively target the smallest businesses unfairly. The new £25 per week Covid Recovery charge (£1,300 per year) does not differentiate between a business size or profitability and will certainly hit members hard. The GFSB has written to the Government asking them to reconsider this charge.

“Overall, the budget introduces additional challenges to an already tough landscape. Businesses will have to take tough decisions including cost cutting, pay freezes and increased efficiency in order to survive. Government should be undertaking the precise same exercise in order to reduce any additional and necessary tax burdens on private businesses.”

Cross Frontier Group (CFG) working hard in the background

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The GFSB Board has actively been attending and making representations to Ministers and key Brexit negotiating parties through the Cross Frontier Group (CFG). The CFG has corresponded with UK, Spanish and EU representatives.

The CFG comprises of what would normally be polar opposites. Labour unions and business organisations lobby key representatives by consensus. Blythe Reeves has been the GFSB lead and representative attending meetings mostly in Spain. The most recent meetings have been with MP Enrique Santiago from the political party Unidas Podemos and Regional Delegate of Employment and Economic Development Alberto Cremades. The GFSB and CFG continue to press negotiating parties to ensure fluidity of persons at the frontier and a favourable Brexit Agreement.

Office of Fair Trading issues Codes of Conducts

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These codes will serve as best practice guidance for businesses that retail goods to ordinary end consumers.

While it is noted by the OFT that most reputable retailers in Gibraltar already largely abide by the principles set out in the code, the code’s introduction will bring much needed clarity for both businesses and consumers should disputes arise from purchases. In particular, it will assist in terms of expected redress outcomes and timeframes for this. This certainty should in turn avoid the escalation of disputes between consumers and businesses as the code is designed to codify silent areas of existing legislation.

The code of conduct is accessible from the Office of Fair Trading’s website (https://www.oft.gov.gi/documents/codes-of-conduct). The OFT is inviting any businesses that wish to receive further guidance on the code to contact the OFT’s Consumer Protection Team. The OFT will be able to deliver a presentation on the principles of the code should enough interest be generated by the sector for this.

The Consumer Protection Team can be reached as follows:

Tel: 20071700

Email: consumer.protection@gibraltar.gov.gi 

Website: www.oft.gov.gi

The GFSB is hiring- Office Manager

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The GFSB Board is looking for a new Office Manager. Please see the details of the role below and please emails us if you are interested.

WORKING HOURS: The post holder will be required to work a 37.5 hour working week Monday to Friday (flexible 9-5.30 pm)

SALARY: Up to £25,000 (dependant on experience)

The ideal candidate will:

Take proactive responsibility for the smooth running of a small, dynamic office where your professionalism, initiative and office skills will be welcomed.  You will have plenty of room to be creative and the GFSB Board is always open to new ideas.

Your full-time role will include providing a full range of office management duties including:

  • Day to day running of the office and GFSB membership
  • Provision of admin support to the Board of Directors
  • Staff management
  • Financial management
  • Event management
  • Marketing, communication and management of IT infrastructure 

This is an autonomous role, and you need to be comfortable being independent and making decisions under the guidance of the Board of Directors.  This position will suit you if you have excellent interpersonal and presentational skills and office management experience.  You need to be self-directed and have organisational and problem-solving abilities.

Applicants must have:

  • Extensive administrative experience, including financial and electronic marketing
  • Excellent IT skills – proficient in the use of Google Drive and/or Microsoft office and an ability to use new or unfamiliar software 
  • Excellent organisational and time management skills
  • Excellent interpersonal, oral and written communication skills
  • Effective negotiating and influencing skills
  • Excellent customer service skills and problem-solving abilities
  • Ability to prioritise workload and use initiative

Applications outlining qualifications and demonstrating how your experience and skills match the job requirements are due by Wednesday 30th March 2022.

Please submit your CV and cover letter by email to gfsb@gfsb.gi or call 20047722

A full job description can be found at this link –Office Manager job description.

The Business Improvement District (BID) is Hiring

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The Business Improvement District is inviting expressions of interest in the Project Head role. The Project Head role will provide leadership and day-to-day management of the BID Company, working in association with relevant agencies and service providers. The postholder will ensure that the BID Business Plan is delivered in a professional, accountable and cost-effective manner.

A full job description can be found on https://mainstreetbid.com/careers/

To apply, please email a copy of your CV to Mo Aswat, BID Project Director, at mo@themosaicpartnership.co.uk.

November Speed Networking Event 2021

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Twenty four representatives from a variety of different small businesses in Gibraltar took part in a speed networking event hosted by the GFSB on Wednesday 17th November 2021. The popular local event that occurs twice a year was hosted at the Sala Restaurant of the Sunborn Hotel and the guests were able to enjoy a breakfast of pastries, fresh juices, tea and coffee whilst discussing their various business ventures.

After the initial introductions, attendees of the event had the opportunity to converse with each other for three minutes at a time, allowing everyone to be able to introduce themselves and their businesses to a wide variety of different people across different industries. There was also an opportunity to exchange business cards before moving on to the next table to meet the next person.

The event’s organiser, Stuart Byrne reflected on the success of the event, stating that “our speed networking event is designed to help our members’ branch out and network with new people and learn about their businesses.” He then went onto describe the variety of different businesses in attendance, explaining the unique mix of attendees that really allow the event to thrive and be lucrative for all involved, “some are start-ups and don’t have those essential pre-existing connections, some have come from other nations and need to build those relationships with people who know the Gibraltar market and some are locals who just want to branch out and find out about the other local and global businesses based within Gibraltar.”

When asked why he believed the event encourages a lot of attendees to come back each time, he mentioned that “the event has great food and drink and is always fun and enjoyable for all involved. It takes place two times a year and is a great opportunity to meet a variety of different people and find out about lots of other businesses in a short space of time, without this event it would have taken people a long time to make those same connections.”

Once the speed networking part of the event had concluded, there was then the opportunity for people to network further if they wished, allowing the opportunity to deepen those connections formed during the initial meeting. The event also allows for the prospect of business collaboration having had the chance to get to know each of the different businesses and their representatives, the final portion of the event allows the attendees to reflect on potential gaps within their own business operations and areas where collaboration could be pertinent to future success.

Some of the attendees include representatives from industries such as accountancy, insurance and sustainability.

After the event, I asked some of the regular attendees why they decided to come back to the GFSB speed networking event each time. Carmel Khalilian, the founder and director of The GreenCode which helps organisations to conduct business operations based on environmental policy, said that she returns to the event each time because it’s “a great space for inspiring innovation,” and when asked what she believed the core purpose of the event was, she stated that “it’s about bringing together different experts.”

She went onto talk about the fact that each time in attendance at the event brings something new to her business and new people to meet, “it’s so cool to have seen more new faces, it’s a pleasant surprise. It’s fun to get to know lots of people in a short period of time. It works well for new businesses and helps you to see how your networks can connect in different ways. It’s also great that it allows smaller businesses to reach out of the Gibraltar bubble and meet global companies.”

Similarly, representatives from the Beacon Press agreed that “3 minutes is the right amount of time to build connections and make an impression. It was great to see so many new faces attending the event this time.”

As well as attendees experienced in speed networking, Wednesday’s event also attracted a number of people new to the event, with the majority stating that it is their first time coming to a GFSB event with the pandemic stopping people from meeting in person. They believed that as new businesses setting up in Gibraltar, being able to connect with people face to face has been invaluable.

David Oxley, a HR consultant at Oxley HR services was a first time speed networking attendee and stated that “being able to connect with so many other people within business has been so valuable” for him. He also said that he believes events such as the GFSB speed networking “helps to get people out of their shell.”

The event was very well received by all who attended and attendees spent the last of the time networking and socialising with people that they had enjoyed meeting in the three minute timeframe. No two speed networking events are the same and there are always new people to form connections with.

 

 

GFSB Business Innovation Award opens

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The GFSB is happy to announce the opening of applications for next years (2022) GFSB Business Innovation Award sponsored by Gibtelecom. The online application form can be found on our website at the following link Award Application Form and needs to be submitted before Monday 31st January 2022.
Recent winners have included Crucial Compliance, EBike Gibraltar, Hempassion and Buytickets.gi who all demonstrated how businesses in Gibraltar are agile and great at innovating to succeed.This year we believe we will see just as many or more innovative businesses apply due to the challenges of COVID and BREXIT and how well local businesses have adapted to these. We look forward to seeing what great ideas existing and new businesses have come up with.

We are also very happy to continue our partnership with Gibtelecom, the sponsor of this award since its inception, who will be giving the winner an amazing prize of £2,000 worth of IT and communications equipment.

Danny Hook, Enterprise Director at Gibtelecom, said “We are proud to have been the GFSB’s Innovation Award partner for many years. Each year we are impressed with how local small businesses adapt and come up with creative solutions to push their businesses to the next level, as well as with how they’ve developed different technologies and processes to help them succeed in their business ventures. It is a great platform to showcase some of the local business talents, which there is plenty of in Gibraltar.”

Eran Shay GFSB Board member and one of the judges said “Innovation is the lifeblood of business and as Steve Jobs once said ‘Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower’.  The GFSB strives to help businesses succeed and there is no better way to do it than by promoting innovation. So if your place is amongst leaders, make sure to enter the Business Innovation Awards.”

GFSB BID initiative gets voted in!

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In 2018 the GFSB commissioned a study of Main Street and its surrounding area to ascertain if there was anything that could be done to help businesses. This was an important exercise to know where the high street was and where it could go. The Main Street Review highlighted a number of things that could be done to improve the whole area for both locals and tourists. The best mechanism for this type of change was with the forming of a Business Improvement District (BID) which have proved very successful in the UK and USA.

The GFSB agreed that a BID would be a great way to move forward, to accomplish some of the findings/recommendations the Main St Review proposed, and spoke to Mosaic Partnership one of the UK’s leading BID implementing firms. Once a budget and plan was put together, the GFSB approached Government to help fund it, which they did. This gave the project the momentum it needed to get started. The Government then later committed to matching pound for pound the contributions made by retail and leisure.

Fast forward past COVID and all the other challenges, to last week, where Isola’s gave the all-important announcement that the BID vote had been successful with over 60% majority voting in favour.

The GFSB is very proud of this initiative and all the work that has been going on behind the scenes for nearly three years to get to this point. Now it is no longer a GFSB project but becomes its very own entity. We truly believe that the BID will propel Main Street and the surrounding area forward.

Congratulations to the BID team, and thanks to the Government for their support.

The GFSB will continue to support the BID and any other initiatives it feels will benefit GFSB members and Gibraltar PLC.

GFSB Chairperson Julian Byrne said “When I took on the responsibility of Chairperson I had a clear goal in mind, and that was to do all I could to improve business for our members. One of the first tasks was to tackle the city centre, so we commissioned the Main Street review. This was supposed to be a one year project, but it was clear from the findings that more was needed and that the BID would be the way forward. The GFSB has been hard at work behind the scenes to get the BID to a point where it runs itself. It is great to see the strong BID team and how they are moving the project forward, and how many businesses are backing the BID. We are also grateful for the Government’s support.
Overall a great success for the GFSB, the BID and Gibraltar!”

 

InTouch Magazine Competition Winners

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Big thank you to Wally’s Social, Beacon Press and Aphrodite Beauty for kindly donating prizes for the InTouch Magazine Competition. Look out for the next competition in our Winter Edition OUT SOON.

Congratulations to our winners Esther Benamor and Nicholas Morgan.

 

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