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GFSB welcomes Political Framework Agreement 

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The Gibraltar Federation of Small Businesses Board welcomes the announcement by HMGOG of a framework agreement for a treaty on Gibraltar’s future relationship with the EU. The Federation notes that local businesses are already enjoying the benefits of what is in effect an additional transitional period, normal frontier fluidity, and the benefits of continued good and co-operative relationship with our neighbour.  Whilst any resetting of our relationship with the EU will not be without its challenges, it will also come with new opportunities.  The Federation is of the firm view that rising to those challenges is by far the preferable position to the alternative – no agreement and the only hard border caused by a hard Brexit in Europe – an outcome which would have had a significant negative impact on local business.  The Federation looks forward to considering the details of the framework agreement and any resulting treaty.

A spokesperson for the Federation commented “The improved frontier fluidity that a future agreement will deliver, will bring huge potential benefits to our members both in terms of improving and increasing the size of our member’s customer base as well as making life easier for staff and business owners.  The possibility that mobility of goods will also be included in a future agreement will open up new markets for our members, as it will likewise bring challenges and new competition.  Gibraltar residents will enjoy unique access to the Schengen area which will no doubt prove to be an extremely attractive proposition for many, and is likely to assist in delivering continued economic prosperity for Gibraltar and indeed the surrounding area”.

The GFSB looks forward to working closely with the Gibraltar Government on their future discussions as they relate to or affect the business community. With over 350 members the GFSB represents a large number of local businesses of all sizes and has first-hand knowledge and understanding of their concerns.


Compensation for the Catering Sector

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The Chief Minister stated last Friday that the Government will compensate catering businesses for their cost of goods thrown away as a result of this decision as these businesses had procured perishables for the weekend trade and Christmas period, which was expected to be busy. The compensation will be paid to those businesses within the catering sector which has followed and fully complied with the Covid Regulations.

To apply please fill in the form and email it to by the 31st December 2020 in order for the Government to consider the compensation package and make the appropriate payments in mid-January 2021.

To download the form in an Excel format please click here.

Anti Bullying guidance for small businesses

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By Fiona Young

There has been a  lot of publicity this week highlighting issues surrounding Bullying, both in schools and in the workplace. For small businesses, the issue of bullying in the workplace is a double-edged sword. 

Positives for  small businesses are that they  tend to have much closer relationships between management level and employees which does lend itself to better communication, understanding and the ability for management to work side by side with staff and be tuned into the challenges their staff face, all of which is good for a bullying free workplace.

Negative factors include over familiarity of staff leading to a lack of respect for authority; allegations of bias between staff; complacency; or a growing sense of entitlement and demand from employees wanting pay rises, bonuses, time off and other benefits. These demands particularly in an economic downturn  can put added stress and pressure on small business owners. 

Often hands-on management can be construed, when taken out of context, as being draconian or too tough, and small business owners constantly walk the tightrope of managing their employees and the business effectively and productively while ensuring they comply with their legal obligations as a considerate employer. Tribunal claims can be catastrophic for small businesses, in terms of time, cost and reputation. They also damage workplace morale (workplace disputes in small businesses are rarely possible to keep confidential)  and can mentally and emotionally devastate a business owner who feels that they have done everything correctly. 

In addition, small businesses often have to deal with “institutional” or corporate bullying – facing competition and scare tactics from larger  mainstream competitors or having to deal with overzealous governmental or union  officials.

Suffice to say, the Anti-Bullying message is one that resonates for many reasons with small businesses and yet all too often they are painted with the same stereotypical brush as larger organisations and expected to meet the same identical standards of care with substantially less resources and economic capability, yet far more at stake if things go wrong.

Top tips for small businesses to avoid bullying from all angles are:

  1. Get a good employment lawyer from the outset. Use your employment lawyer as an advisor not a protector. Employment lawyers are often frustrated with the fact that a client comes to them when a matter is at its illogical conclusion and they have not had the opportunity to assist the employer with damage limitation or prevention. Good workplace policies  to pre-empt and govern staff procedures and employer responsibilities are essential. These must of course be readily available to staff.
  1. Make a values statement regarding professional conduct and respect in the workplace and ask everyone, no matter what their role is in the workplace to contribute to the values statement. Ask your employees how they would like to be spoken to and treated. It is guaranteed they will all ask to be spoken to respectfully and kindly. Then remind them that they are also required to do the same to their managers and colleagues. That policy should also extend to customer services behaviour as happy customers clients tend to result in happy and less stressed staff.
  1. If there is a union representation, or a government agency you need to work closely with don’t see them as the enemy but as your ally. Engage with them, understand what they require of you  and also  explain to them the realities and limitations of  workplace . Every business owner wants their business to be profitable and getting the best out of your staff and hearing their concerns, implementing those that are appropriate and explaining clearly and with reasons why matters cannot be implemented when appropriate, is a step towards increasing and improving productivity. 
  1. Do not think that the responsibility for preventing bullying in the workplace is not yours. As a business owner/manager you set the tone for your working environment and it is only in your power to make appropriate changes and implement procedures that provide a safe environment for your staff. Remember they can leave a business they don’t like, as the business owner you cannot and therefore you should run your business as a place where you enjoy working. By setting a positive example, encouraging your staff to follow that example, having clear behavioural and communication policies in place; rewarding positive behaviours and constantly reminding those employees in engaging in negative behaviours that those behaviours do not tie in with your business culture – you will begin to eliminate undertones of interstaff bullying and in so doing minimise the likelihood of claims against you as an employer.
  1. Finally, there is no quick fix for the David and Goliath corporate bullying scenario – it is a reality of the business world and an extra challenge small businesses face. However as a small business you have the advantage of being empowered to create the positive work environment admired by staff and clients alike, you have the flexibility and manoeuvrability to implement changes where needed and dialogue with your staff and clients directly to gain their input. By creating a friendly, enjoyable positive place to work you are more likely to attract high calibre employees who stay for longer and are committed to building your business in-line with your vision of profitability and growth. Therefore rather than trying to compete with the larger corporations or challenge any attempts they make to take business from you, use your size, flexibility and close customer and employee relationships as a tool to offer an alternative to the big corporate machine. As someone who is only just touching 5 foot in height I can definitely say that substance far outweighs size every time. 

To download a PDF of this please click here.

The Nautilus Project – Gibraltar Sustainable Awards

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The highly coveted #GibraltarSustainableAwards were held on Wednesday 8th July 2020 at the University of Gibraltar for the second year running and in collaboration with the Gibraltar Federation of Small Businesses
Nine of the many entries submitted were shortlisted, each carefully chosen for their outstanding green credentials. The diverse representation was a true testament to how the #Gibraltarian 🇬🇮 community is engaging with our environment.

Gibbeau won the Award For Innovation
Eroski Center Gibraltar was recognised as The Green Business Leaders
Europa FC was presented with The Sustainability Team Of The Year award
Alameda Wildlife Conservation Park was praised for their Environmental Stewardship
Playtech took The Daring To Be Greener Award
Rotary Club of Gibraltar achieved The Green Beacon Award
OTWO collected The Sustainability Influencers Award
S.M. Seruya received The Sustainability Vision Award
Hassans scooped up the major prize of the night and collected The Gibraltar Sustainable Business Award 2020

Our thanks to all the participants and our congratulations to all these worthy winners!
Plans for the 3rd Gibraltar Sustainable Awards are already underway.

SDGG – Shop Window competition

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The Self Determination for Gibraltar Group (SDGG) is reminding the general public of the Shop Window competition as part of the National Celebrations for 2020.

Closing date is Friday 21st August.

GFSB & Chamber welcome duty measures

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welcome the new Beat economic assistance package for quarter 3 announced by Government in Parliament last week as well as the changes to the import duty structure announced on 30th June. These measures follow close consultation between the Chamber and the GFSB, Government and the Unions as part of the range of measures discussed at CELAC. They are aimed at protecting employment by giving businesses a fighting chance in the current economic crisis and fit with the current “Support Local” campaign organised and funded by the Chamber, the GFSB and the Government.

Whilst business costs in Gibraltar remain high, we urge all local traders to use the removal of import duty to make their products as price-competitive as possible and also to encourage Gibraltarians to support local businesses in these challenging times.

The Chamber and the GFSB are pleased to announce that they have also negotiated with the Government for free parking for local residents in the Mid-Town Car Park for up to three hours per day. This will enable people to go to town to eat, or have a coffee and do their shopping in a hassle free manner whilst also enabling them to take their purchases home with them more easily.

All these measures as well as the ones which the Government has introduced over the last four months have been aimed at generating economic activity locally so that employment levels can be maintained as much as possible with the consequent economic benefits for the community at large. Every individual and every business has had to make sacrifices in the last few months but where we can support each other we should do so for the good of the whole community.

We will keep our members updated accordingly.

GFSB & Chamber launch joint initiative with the Government to support local businesses

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The Gibraltar Federation of Small Businesses and the Chamber of Commerce have teamed up with Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar to launch a marketing campaign to support local businesses after several months of lockdown.

The campaign is aimed at encouraging the community to spend locally and to highlight the connection between local spending and local consumption on our economy. This economic activity enables the Government to continue investing in the field of education, our healthcare system, policing and other essential services and local infrastructure that we all benefit from.

The campaign is not just about buying from local shops or dining in local restaurants, there are many goods and service companies which supply the local market. Every local company is going to need the help of the community to rebuild their business. The Chamber and the GFSB would like local consumers as well as local businesses to, where possible, consider using local suppliers first, before sourcing goods from elsewhere. This keeps money circulating in the local economy and the multiplier effects are beneficial for the community as a whole.

Vijay Daryanani, Minister for Business said, “At a time when many local businesses have been forced to close for several months due to the pandemic, it is critically important that we all continue to unite as a community and try and support as many local businesses as possible.” Echoing this sentiment Christian Hernandez, President of the Chamber added, “Supporting local business goes hand in hand with ensuring that we have an dynamic and healthy economy which creates jobs and generates revenues for the Government.” Similarly Julian Byrne, Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses said: “We have done well so far but there are still some big challenges ahead and we need to support each other to meet them successfully.”

The campaign will run for a period of 5 months on social media supplemented by offline media.

Thank you for your support.