Julian Knight welcomes Karren Brady who visits Shirley in Conservative Small Business role

LOCAL Resident Karren Brady was in the town today to promote her role as the Conservative Party’s Small Business Ambassador.

She was invited to view Parkgate works in Shirley and meet local small businessmen and women by Solihull’s Conservative Parliamentary Candidate and Local Campaigner, Julian Knight.

Parkgate will open in spring 2014 and boasts 20 new shops together with numerous cafés and restaurants. New homes, a car park and improvements to nearby community amenities will also come as part of works.

Afterwards Karren and Julian hosted a 45 minute interactive Q&A session at Shirley Baptist Church with over 30 businessmen and women attending.

Julian Knight said: “Parkgate is going to be fantastic facility for Shirley and I wanted Karren to see first-hand how it was progressing. She was definitely impressed with the potential of Parkgate. It is going to offer Shirley so much including business, residential and environmental opportunities. 

“The icing on the cake was Karren’s very successful Q&A with Solihull small businesses. You just have to look at Shirley High Street to see how important these firms are to the area. Both this Government and I, as a local campaigner, are committed to helping these companies grow.”

Karren was introduced as the Party’s new Small Business Ambassador at this year’s Conservative Party Conference in an effort to support new and old entrepreneurs. It comes as the Government focuses on small businesses to help boost the economy with schemes like Start-up Loans, 10,000 loans worth £50 million already having been approved.

Karren Brady said: “It was great to visit the Parkgate project along with Julian Knight, it is going to be good for businesses including small and developing companies in Shirley. 

“The Q&A session was really engaging with lots of discussion about the success and priorities for small businesses in the area. As a local woman, it was especially good to see the innovation which exists here in Solihull. 

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy and in my Conservative Party role I want to promote and share what the Government is doing to help them.

“We have got plenty of schemes to help ranging from Start-up Loans for new businesses to business mentors for more matured businesses looking to diversity.

One of those attending the small business Q&A was John Proud, 22, who owns Titan Mouthguards – a two-year old business – which offers dental protection for sportsmen and women.

John “As a young entrepreneur looking for ways to grow my small business, I found Karren’s visit invaluable. Both Julian and Karren were very helpful in suggesting that I link up with other small Solihull businesses and I now have lots of new contacts from the small business discussion.”