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Tony Robinson OBE

Did the MicroBiz vote lose it for Labour?

08 May 2015 11:15


Our election panel on Business Zone, yesterday, did forewarn the danger to Labour of failing to engage with the 'new normal' of working people - 5 million self employed and micro (0-9 employees) businesses.

In Labour's 10 years of Government and 5 years of opposition they have only developed policies to support the 195,000 'SMEs' and ignored the largest and fastest growing occupational group in the economy. The Enterprise Rockers, a free to join in, global, indie group of micro business owners, which I co-founded and co-fund, with Tina Boden, has tried to engage with all political parties to make them aware of the micro enterprise revolution which will continue throughout the world.

Politics today makes it a difficult task to get to political leaders through the Establishment's web of corporate and 'think tank' lobbyists and special advisers. Yet, we have certainly made a lot of noise including our annual #MicroBizMattersDay. They haven't listened to us.

As I have blogged and given speeches on throughout the last 5 years political parties have chosen to ignore the major characteristics of these 5 million independent business owners. Namely; that 75% of these businesses have only one person running them; 50% of them are working from home (60% in Scotland) and they are earning 20% less than they were in 2008 - most earning less than the living wage if taken on an hourly basis. They are however, generally happy, positive and creating most of the new jobs in our economy.

Utilities, telecoms, postage and transport costs; universal credit, exemption from costly new regulations and taxes, faster broadband speed, substantial incentives and training support to take on their first employee; test trading support for start ups, #PayInThirtyDays - are all vital issues that the Labour Party could have engaged with these 5 million on.

Although I voted Labour - for change, I wouldn't be at all surprised if many of my self employed and business owner colleagues got into the polling booth and in the absence of an alternative, credible offer, voted for the traditional party for small business - Conservative.

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Press Contacts

Tony Robinson OBE

Co-founder Enterprise Rockers, Chair Business Advisory Bureau Limited and SFEDI Founder

Tel: 07715 749079


About Tony Robinson OBE

Tony Robinson OBE, co-founded the independent, informal, free to join in, no contact details required, Enterprise Rockers movement in January 2012. The Enterprise Rockers CIC has one aim which is to make life better for micro (0-9 employees) enterprise owners around the world.

Co-founder and co-funder of the Enterprise Rockers, Tina Boden, and Tony spent a year testing the concept and recruiting well known entrepreneurs as Head Roadies and Band Leaders to launch the movement. The movement does no lobbying as it is about micro enterprise helping micro enterprise. The co-founders call this the #PowerOfPlenty.

Since launch they have attracted many Friends of the Enterprise Rockers. These are networks of micro enterprise owners within membership organisations and client/customer groups. Hundreds of thousands of self employed and business owners have been touched by the Enterprise Rockers work.

The success of many campaigns and their film 'What Makes Enterprise Rock?' inspired the co-founders to organise the first global, #MicroBizMattersDay on the third anniversary of the Enterprise Rockers CIC, January 9th 2015. Tony and Tina interviewed business owners and celebrity entrepreneurs and live streamed from Google for Work in London, supported by Sage UK. The second global #MicroBizMattersDay took place on January 8th 2016 with 8 hours live streaming from Portobello Business Centre. Business owners around the world give 8 minutes to help other business owners and the day was supported by all the major business membership organisations with headline support from ScanSnap (a Fujitsu company), Microsoft and Sage. The day trended on twitter for 5 hours and the target of over one million business owners being involved was exceeded.

The third #MicroBizMattersDay takes place on January 13th 2017 with the Main Event Partner being Pimlico Plumbers and International Development Partner being ScanSnap (a Fujitsu Company). New and additional for next year is a 2 hour main event and City Parties taking the live stream throughout the world. The day presents 8 learning hours and is truly a day of Recognition, Action (#IGave13) and Learning. The target audience next year is 10 million business owners.

Tony and Tina have individual micro enterprises, both for longer than 20 years, and are well known in the UK for their work to support and promote start ups and business ownership. Tony and Tina are Small and Micro Business Ambassadors for a number of organisations, events and campaigns. Tina is a founder ambassador of Small Business Saturday.

Tony received an OBE for services to small firms in 2001 and received two lifetime awards for enterprise in 2012 (from the IAB at the House of Commons) and 2013 (from Start Your Business Magazine). He founded the SFEDI Group in 1996 and remains a co-owner. He is co-founder and a Fellow of the Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs. He is also a NED of Yorkshire Coast Enterprise Agency.

He co-founded in 1986, and still runs, (Executive Chair) with Clare Francis (Company Secretary), the Business Advisory Bureau Limited.. The Business Advisory Bureau Limited specialises in assisting large organisations, private and public sector, to engage with and supply small and micro enterprise owners. The other Directors are Tina Boden (Managing) and Nigel Hudson (Research & Learning)

Tony has written seven books of which the best known is the fictional political and business satire with practical 'own business tips' - "Freedom from Bosses Forever". It is available as kindle book, paperback and audio book.

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