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April 22, 2024

Construction sector given seats on small business council

Julie White, managing director of D-Drill, is among the small business council members

The bosses of a diamond drilling specialist, a geotechnical consultancy and a plumbing and heating business are among the 19 business representatives helping government formulate policy.

Chaired by small business minister Kevin Hollinrake, the small business council has representatives from across manufacturing, retail, food & drink and construction.

It has been set up to provide a voice for small businesses within government provide an alternative voice to the prime minister’s own corporate business council.

Members include Julie White, managing director of Coventry-based D-Drill & Sawing, Jomas Associates managing director Roni Savage and John Williams Heating co-founder Debbie Williams.

Small Business Minister Kevin Hollinrake said: “Small firms are at the heart of our communities and the engine of our economy – which is why the work of this council is so important. My own experience of working in a small business has given me crucial insights to the problems that SMEs face on a daily basis, from barriers to growth or access to finance.

“We’re giving small firms a big voice, so they can directly air their concerns to government without delay – only when we work together can we tackle some of the burning issues SMEs are facing – only then can we help boost jobs and grow the economy.”

Julie White, who is also chair of industry trade body Build UK, said: “I’m honoured to have been selected to join the new small business council and welcome this opportunity to share my thoughts on what it’s like doing business in the current climate. Everyone knows that trading is tough, and it’s vital that SMEs are given as much support as possible to help them to grow. Working with business, the government can help to create the right economic conditions to help us all flourish by ensuring consistent policy, improving procurement and providing support for skills.”

Dr Roni Savage, chief executive of Jomas Associates, at 10 Downing Street

In her Build UK role Julie White was also on the prime minister’s business council in 2022 and 2023.

Dr Roni Savage, chief executive of geoengineering and site investigation specialist Jomas Associates, said: “I aspire to amplify the voice of SMEs at various intersections and to contribute to a movement that will deliver tangible results. Construction related businesses make up approximately 20% of all SMEs in the UK – It is important that barriers are removed to enable sustainable growth for these businesses, and for the economy.”

Business and trade secretary Kemi Badenoch said: “Small businesses are the lifeblood of our local communities and drive the UK’s economy, supporting jobs and wages across the country.  This new council will mean SMEs have a clear voice at the table and we can deliver on the key needs for business. We are taking action to ensure that they have the support, tools and guidance they need to thrive – because when small businesses succeed, the UK succeeds.”

The small business council members are:

  • Michelle Ovens –  founder/chief executive, Small Business Britain 
  • Neil Davy – chief executive, Family Business UK
  • Tina McKenzie – policy chair, Federation of Small Businesses 
  • Emma Heal – managing director, Lucky Saint
  • Thomas Robson Kanu – founder, The Turmeric Co.
  • Julianne Ponan – chief executive, Creative Nature Superfoods
  • Peter Davies – managing director, James Lister & Sons
  • Gary Parlett – co-founder, Answer Digital
  • Tania Boler – founder, Elvie
  • Richard Marshall – founder, Pall Mall Barbers
  • Elizabeth Vega – chief executive, Informed Solutions
  • Tessa Clarke – co-founder, Olio
  • Jordan Schwarzenberger – co-founder, Arcade Media
  • Julie White – managing director, D-Drill
  • Mike Bristow – chief executive & co-founder, Crowd Property
  • Debbie Williams – co-founder, John Williams Heating
  • Roni Savage – managing director, Jomas Associates
  • Andrew Bissell – chief executive, Sunamp
  • Alan Lowry –  chief executive, Environmental Street Furniture

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