I went to the Small Firms Summit on 16 May at the University of Central Lancs in Burnley as a guest of Tricia Calway of KnowledgeLink. Many different businesses were represented, including a butcher, a baker, a vehicle importer, aerospace parts engineers, financial advisers, a trainer, a paint manufacturer. The latter, Stephen Falder was one of two speakers and was rather inspiring describing his take on the specialness of small: how personal his company feels and how much part of the community.
He knows the local primary schools and arranges visits for children and staff – the children are unselfconsciously curious at that age and it helps build relationships and counter misconceptions about what business means. He takes on young people for work experience, pays them a decent wage, gives them a reasonable stint and gets them doing proper tasks – otherwise, how will they know what work is like?
Stephen was full of practical ideas put into action – a living vision of how businesses could and should be and possible for every business to emulate.