As an active member of trade body, The Genesis Initiative, the GCA is applying pressure for the UK Government to turn its future investments and loans to small businesses into a UK Sovereign Wealth Fund.
Amanda Fergusson, ceo of the GCA attended a Genesis Initiative virtual meeting at the end of last week when the plans were ratified to propose the Fund, which, she feels “should signal financial benefits to our members.”
Explaining about the Fund Genesis chairman John May said it “would turn new debt in UK small businesses into long-term loans or investments to back those businesses for the long term, thus ensuring their survival, turnaround and prosperity”.
This is just one of the solutions The Genesis Initiative (a non-partisan alliance involving 115 primarily small business trade associations, academics, politicians, advisers and commentators committed to the growth of the UK SME economy), is currently proposing.
A Sovereign Wealth Fund would “support SMEs, the bedrock of UK commercial life, to bring that sector back from despair and drive it towards hope and prosperity,” said Chris Parr, who chairs the Genesis Initiative Covid-19 Working Party.
While Amanda says that there is no guarantee that all GCA members will be able to benefit if and when the UK Sovereign Wealth Fund is set up, as she points out “As a member of the Genesis Initiative I will be well placed to flag up any opportunities for members to apply as soon as I hear.”
Taking on board real concerns and frustrations of many GCA members who pay themselves primarily through dividends, which means they are not covered by the Treasury aid programmes to get them through the coronavirus crisis, Amanda Fergusson has added the GCA’s voice for change to the chorus call from the IRC (Independent Retailer Confederation), of which the greeting card association is a member.
“At the IRC meeting yesterday (April 20), I was so pleased to hear that the issue of dividends is being pursued with Small Business Minister Paul Scully, who has asked for more information on the issue for micro-businesses which I will feed into on our members’ behalf. Among the other matters for discussions were around the issues of getting back to work/opening businesses. So many of the challenges our industry are facing, such as how and when to end furloughing, ensuring the ongoing safety of employees while also being able to get the business onto a commercial footing once again are felt in other sectors too. It is good to be able to draw on the expertise, knowledge and shared experiences of others.”
That said, Amanda is also very well aware of the unique power of greeting cards and is embarking on a consumer PR campaign to alert the media of the vital role they play in society, in the good times and the bad.
“Our new Thinking of You website (https://www.thinkingofyouweek.cards/) has attracted 2,500 visitors in the last fortnight alone, which is something I am keen to build on. It has been great having so many positive stories from our industry to share with the consumer press and TV journalists,” said Amanda.
To further build on these stories, there are plans afoot for the creative duo behind Lanther Black card company (Dominique Miranda and Jack Parker) to create an uplifting composite video featuring up to 56 members of the greeting card community. Any member who is up to getting involved (all you need is a phone that can record) should contact Amanda by this Friday (April 24) on email@example.com.
Top: GCA’s ceo Amanda Fergusson who is fighting to improve things for members in many quarters.