Thought Leadership: Peter Hawes on the benefits of the partnership approach

Peter Hawes, managing director of Norse Commercial Services

Peter Hawes, managing director of Norse Commercial Services - Credit: Archant

Building a strong base of interdependent local business is core to stimulating economic vitality in the county, and needs to be one of the shared priorities of larger and smaller local enterprises alike.

It therefore makes sense that larger, established businesses in Suffolk should be encouraged to share their wealth of experience and expertise with the small business community in order to facilitate responsible, sustainable and mutually-beneficial growth together, with market and supply guarantees on both sides.

By recycling an appropriate share of their revenue back into the local economy these big corporate wealth creators will be enriching the whole community.

Within Suffolk there are a number of such organisations which are firmly rooted in the county. They have an economic self-interest in helping ensure that the commercial communities in which they are based are successful, vibrant and in sound financial health.

By sourcing services and goods locally, larger organisations will be cutting down their carbon miles, helping to build stability for the local employment market (with the attendant benefits to everyone of increased consumer spending confidence) and ensuring good community engagement – all examples of corporate best practice and social responsibility.

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It is also significant that in times of high demand, local suppliers may be able to react quicker. However, as much as many larger organisations may like the idea of supporting local suppliers, it will count for nothing if the price differential is substantially biased away from such sources.

Therefore, if local firms expect larger businesses to buy their products and services, in today’s climate they need to be sensitive to sustainable, cost-effective pricing policies.

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In sourcing locally the bigger organisations should actively encourage their suppliers to develop the skills and careers of their workforce.

However, they should also directly support career opportunities for future entrants to the local skills pool, via schemes such as apprenticeships and work placements.

In short, by working together the larger and smaller organisations should develop a symbiotic environment that encourages and facilitates mutual growth and prosperity.

: : Peter Hawes is managing director of Norse Commercial Services.

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