THE voice of Hampshire businesses will be heard at a major conference in London on Monday.

Senior cabinet ministers, a former advisor on small business issues to President Obama Karen Mills, and leading entrepreneurs will come together at the Federation of Small Businesses’ (FSB) first Policy Conference.

The event will shape not only the future of small businesses in Hampshire but across the UK, helping influence the agenda for enterprise, growth and educational skills. The FSB believes small firms will form a vital part of the economic and political debate in 2014 and beyond.

FSB Wessex regional chairman Ken Moon, said: “The role of small firms has never been more important, and we are proud to have been invited to an event where we can voice the issues that Hampshire members are concerned about.

“We need to make sure businesses can access finance and the support they need to grow, and that they have confidence the education system will deliver school leavers with the skills they need in business.

“Whilst we already work with local councils and schools this event is an exciting opportunity for senior cabinet members, smart and influential economists and dynamic entrepreneurs to hear Hampshire questions and for us to shape future UK policy.”

Recent FSB research shows confidence, is on the rise among, with many of Hampshire’s small businesses looking to grow in 2014.

Mr Moon said that for this growth to be achieved and small firms to fulfil their role in the economy, hurdles such as access to finance, burdensome regulation, and the gap between skills and employability must be overcome.

In the United States, the Small Business Administration, formerly headed by Karen Mills, spearheaded efforts to remove barriers to growth for small firms and acted as a powerful voice in the heart of government on behalf of those businesses.

Discussions on the day will be framed by the question of whether a similar institution could work in the UK.

The FSB is streaming the conference live to a global audience.

Register at and join the debate on Twitter by following and using #FSBGrowth and #FSBSkills