New online business advice forum

Mike Stathers.
Mike Stathers.

An online business forum for companies and the self-employed could be launched in East Yorkshire within the next three months.

Organised by the East Yorkshire Constituency Conservative Association, the free initiative, believed to be the first of its kind in the Yorkshire region, will provide an online advice and discussion medium for its members.

The Association’s business and community officer, Mike Stathers, who ran a successful PR consultancy for 25 years and has been a director of several companies, is putting together the finishing touches to the plan but wants to hear from anyone interested in taking part.

He said: “If we receive enough support for the idea, the forum will be launched this summer and will act as an online conversation group through which members can seek advice or simply exchange views on business issues and ideas.

“We believe it will appeal to smaller businesses and to the self-employed but we hope anyone who is planning to launch a new venture will also use the forum to help them achieve their aims.

“Called Together in Business, it will enable users to email questions or seek advice from fellow members and we hope to eventually attract a sufficiently broad range of supporters so that most of the incoming queries can be answered fairly quickly.

“We want it to be a relatively low-key business development tool and we are not suggesting it would ever replace the higher level of professional advice needed to run most businesses. We want people to be able to tap into the knowledge gained by others who have been through the same experiences, and pitfalls, we all face when setting up and running our own businesses.

“The Association hopes the forum can play an important role in helping to generate more activity in the East Yorkshire economy, by encouraging more businesses and eventually creating more jobs for local people.”

East Yorkshire MP Sir Greg Knight has welcomed the initiative saying: “Pooling best business practice is a great idea and in a rural area like East Yorkshire having an online forum makes sense. Business leaders can swap ideas without leaving their own office.”

Anyone interested in joining the group is asked to contact Mike on mikestathers@yahoo.co.uk.

He added: “Those who express a wish to become a member will be invited to a launch meeting, probably in Market Weighton, after which the forum will exist purely on an online basis.”