Suffolk’s two Brexit business advisers took full advantage of their opportunity to brief the county’s public sector leaders and chief executives about the local business community’s issues and preparations for when the UK leaves the European Union (EU).
The advisers, Michael Chapman and Koyas Miah, are managed by Suffolk Chamber of Commerce and funded by the Suffolk Public Sector Leaders (SPSL) group – an arrangement that is a national first and still believed to be unique.
Over the last couple of months, the advisers have met with dozens of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from all parts of the county both to signpost them to relevant Brexit-related information and to capture any issues or plans they might have for when the UK is outside the EU.
The advisers provided a report to the SPSL on their initial activity and findings.
Michael Chapman said: “It’s clear that most Suffolk businesses are waiting and watching to see whether the UK and the EU finalise a withdrawal agreement. Most have put some provisions in place in the eventuality that we leave without a deal, although the lack of detailed information available to them means they may end up reacting to situations as they arise.”
Koyas Miah added: “Because of our meetings, we’ve been able to adapt the Brexit resources on Suffolk Chamber’s website to make them easier to use. We’ve also been able to convey the challenges facing some of the businesses we’ve met and the opportunities they are looking to exploit to local and national decision-makers, ensuring that the voice of Suffolk businesses are being clearly heard.”
John Dugmore, Suffolk Chamber’s chief executive, said: “It’s good to see that Koyas and Michael are already having a positive impact by guiding Suffolk companies where they can, building long-term relationships with them for when the country’s relationship with the EU becomes clearer and further help will be required and sharing useful insights with our public sector partners.”
Cllr. Matthew Hicks, chair of the Suffolk Public Sector Leaders said: “The Brexit advisers are the first of their kind in the UK and show the commitment of Suffolk leaders in ensuring we not only prepare for Brexit, but that we make the most of the opportunities that arise.
“Whatever form our exit from the EU takes, Suffolk businesses must be best placed to fulfil their potential locally, nationally and globally. By working collaboratively with partners, the advisors provide support and share intelligence and best practice to help achieve that.”
To contact Koyas and Michael, Suffolk Chamber has set up a Brexit business hotline: (01473) 694803. Alternatively, they can be contact respectively via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com