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PR: Staff language in the tourism industry

By | News

The official language of Gibraltar is English, so yes, staff should be able to speak it fluently. Guests to Gibraltar will expect to be able to converse in English. Obviously when employing someone, especially someone who is public-facing, businesses should take this into account and employ those who can speak English first and any other languages second.

Sometimes you may have a candidate who has no official qualifications in English but can speak the language very well, and some times you have the opposite; someone with qualifications but can not speak English at all. It is important that they can understand and communicate in English easily and fluently.

The GFSB is here to help and support local businesses, we have been offering subsidised language courses for years and we will continue to do so, in order to help the business community offer the best customer service it can.

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PR: Jusapol’s protest at the frontier

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The GFSB PR ref the Jusapol’s protest at the frontier.

“The GFSB has made strong representations to the Cross Frontier Group of which the GFSB is an active member and feel that the frontier is not the correct venue to hold such protests. We insist that should any protest be allowed near the border that strict policing and rules apply to ensure the safety of all persons crossing from one side of the frontier to the other. There should never be a threat of intimidation, harassment and violence to persons or their property at the frontier.”

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PR: Budget Response

By | News

The Gibraltar Chamber of Commerce and the Gibraltar Federation of Small Businesses have both welcomed the Government’s confidence in the current state of the economy, but are disappointed that many of the increases announced in this year’s budget are “significantly higher” than the current rate of inflation of 2 ½ per cent.

They add that, with the continued uncertainty of what Brexit might bring, coupled with continued competition from unregulated businesses from across the border, it “seems unreasonable” for local businesses to be forced to bear a disproportionate share of these cost increases.

A statement continued: “When social insurance costs were increased last year, the Government said that the increase had to be a double digit increase to catch up after so many years without an increase.  At that time, government informed the Chamber that the 10% increase was a one off and future increases would be in line with inflation. Despite this assurance to the Chamber, this year the social insurance costs have increased by 10 per cent or four times the rate of inflation, a total increase of 20% in just over 15 months.

“In his May Day address this year the Chief Minister announced that his government had increased the minimum wage by 20 per cent in the last 6 years.  Inflation over the same period was just 10 per cent. It is the employers who have to pay for these increases. Very few small local businesses have seen their sales grow by 20 per cent or even 10 per cent in the last year. These businesses cannot just hike their prices as even more people would shop in Spain or buy from the increasing number of unlicensed businesses from across the border.

“Nevertheless, other measures announced by the Government are welcome. These include the increase in the prompt payment discount for retail and distributive trades following representations from the Chamber and the GFSB.  The review of the import duty tariff structure is also welcome and we hope that the Government engages both organisations to arrive at a more streamlined and simplified structure.

“The Chamber and the GFSB are encouraged by the comments made by Sir Joe Bossano in relation to the public sector, namely that the rising costs of the civil service are impossible to sustain economically and difficult to justify socially, even without Brexit.  This is something we have been saying for many years and the burden of these rising public sector costs have fallen largely on the private sector. Our members look forward to improved efficiencies from the civil service as well as affordable pay increases in the future.

“Both the Chamber and the Federation would like to re-iterate the impartiality of their respective organisations and urge the Government to address the issues which their members have raised. This is so that all sectors of the local business community can look forward to a bright, competitive and efficient future.”

PR: BCA Unite Industrial Action

By | News

The Gibraltar Federation of Small Businesses (GFSB) says it is disappointed by the actions of the Borders and Coastguards Agency Unite members.

A spokesperson said: “It is regrettable to see that a local organisation is causing queues of up to two hours, and doing this intentionally.

“At a time when most local organisations and the Government are working hard to ensure that Brexit does not affect the free flow at the frontier, it is counter productive that BCA Unite members are doing the exact opposite.

“Causing these frontier queues goes against the strong efforts of the Cross Frontier Group to improve cross frontier relations and maintain queues as low as possible.

“The GFSB calls on both sides concerned to the dispute to resolve whatever grievances they have in a sensible and proportionate manner, through negotiation, and immediately cease such actions which cause damage to Gibraltar’s economy and reputation.”

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GFSB Business Innovation Awards 2018

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Business Innovation Awards 2018, founded by Jordan Lopez, is the winner of this year’s GFSB Business Innovation Awards which comes with a prize of £2000 of communications and IT equipment sponsored by Gibtelecom.

On presenting the award, GFSB Chairman, Julian Byrne said that the GFSB had been delighted at the number of entries in this year’s competition: “There has also been a great variety in the types of businesses that applied as well as in the stages of development of the entrants. It was exciting to see how many businesses are trying out bold and new initiatives.” This was a view reiterated by competition judges, among them Stephen Reyes, who said: “We were very impressed with the level and amount of innovation from local entrepreneurs whose businesses are exploring and attracting new markets and growing. It was a pleasure to receive the presentations from the short-listed business and witnessing the passion that these entrepreneurs have for their work.”

One of the many areas in which impressed the judges was in the uniqueness of the business proposition, which, while taking inspiration from many similar ticket-selling websites around the world, has combined technical skills and an in-depth understanding of local market conditions to create a product that is tailor made for Gibraltar. “ has created a highly customised product which at the same time provides a platform for other local businesses to attract customers to their events,” Stephen added, “and they are also growing into new, exciting markets, currently in the process of evolving a service for the local tourism sector.”

In addition to this, has demonstrated to the judges its ability to use technology combined with business acumen to overcome the many difficulties and challenges that executing a ticket sales website involves. Eran Shay, also a competition judge, pointed out that the site contains some extremely complex specifications in order for the front end customer experience to work so smoothly. He was impressed with the level of customisation for each client as each event has varying requirements, and also with the high level of data protection and security systems in place.

Presenting the prize, Lianne Azzopardi, of Gibtelecom, said that Gibtelecom were delighted to sponsor the Business Innovation Awards again this year and congratulated winner, Jordan Lopez in finding a particular niche and in creating support and a gateway to opportunities for other businesses. “As part of the judging panel, Gibtelecom was looking for home-grown businesses that had found a niche and were working to develop in a unique space, as well as providing additional opportunities for other businesses to grow. We are very happy to support the Business Innovation Awards.”

Jordan Lopez was delighted to have received the award. “ grew as a response to the need to buy tickets and for event organisers to sell tickets in as easy and smooth a way as possible,” he explained, “we had to overcome many difficulties and this award is an affirmation that we are going in the right direction. It is also great recognition for the work of the technical team with whom we worked to develop the site.” Jordan is now looking forward to investing the prize in developing new market opportunities for

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GFSB holds its AGM

By | News

The Gibraltar Federation of Small Businesses held its Annual General Meeting on 28th February at its Irish Town offices. Despite the severe weather, GFSB members turned out to receive a round-up of activities during the past year, to examine the organisation’s annual financial statement and to discuss plans for the upcoming year.

Daniel Delgado, the GFSB’s Treasurer, summarised income and expenditure and was pleased to be able to inform members that the accounts are in a healthy state, with income increased from last year and a tight control kept on expenditure. The resulting surplus, Chairman Julian Byrne assured members, was to be reinvested for the overall benefit of members.

In his report, Julian Byrne summarised the GFSB’s activities of the past year and how these met objectives. Networking was an issue that was considered important by members and a Speed Networking event held late into the autumn proved a great success, with some 40 businesses represented and excellent feedback received from participants. The popular Breakfast Club seminars have been held regularly, covering topics of practical value to members – resentations about the new GDP Regulations and the Government’s E-Procurement system to name a few. The opportunity to meet Government representatives at the Breakfast Clubs has also given members a direct voice to Government as well as opportunities to learn and network.

Among the GFSB’s achievements during the year was a presentation to students at Westside School by some GFSB members aimed at encouraging young people to consider becoming entrepreneurs as a career choice, something that will be repeated this year at other schools. InTouch Magazine has continued to develop with an increase in articles and in advertising. The Innovation Awards have seen more entrants than ever this year, demonstrating that creativity and originality are strong features of Gibraltar’s business community. Training opportunities have been made available to members and the GFSB plans to increase these during the current year.

The GFSB is keen to listen to members’ needs and to explore initiatives to improve opportunities for businesses in Gibraltar. A detailed study of Main Street has recently been carried out and the report on this will be presented to members at the annual gala dinner on the 22nd March. In addition to this and together with the Chamber of Commerce, the GFSB has continued to work with Government to review the existing system of business licensing. This is a complex issue but the matter is steadily progressing towards a resolution.