The UK's first national trade association specifically for online businesses has been launched in Cumbria.
The British Online Retailing Association (BritORA) launch was attended by Bill Murphy, Managing Director of BT Next Generation Access, local business owners, Cumbria's High Sheriff, Iona Frost-Pennington, Maria Whitehead MBE and Penrith and the Borders MP Rory Stewart.
BritORA headquarters are at Lazonby in the Eden Valley. The organisation aims to look after the specific interests of small to medium sized (SME) businesses who have an online presence.
BritORA's co-founding Director, Adrian Quine, said: "Online sales grew 14% in 2011 against 3.65% growth in the retail sector as a whole. Research shows that internet businesses are set to see double digit growth in 2012. BritORA is a national trade body with a UK wide perspective but which is proud of its Cumbrian roots. We are delighted to have our headquarters in Eden and owe a special thank you to the District Council's local Business Ambassador Councillor Debra Wicks. Debbie has been extremely supportive and pro-active, her knowledge and tireless enthusiasm is a real help."
BritORA is supporting the campaign for better rural broadband and is launching its own national pledge. It's Director, Adrian Quine, said: "The internet plays an increasingly important part in all our lives and is now an essential business tool. This is why BritORA is calling upon political and civic leaders to publically pledge their support for better broadband not just here in Cumbria but across the whole of the UK."
BritORA's vision is to build the most influential and important community of successful online businesses in the UK. Its mission is to engage these businesses, help them to grow, develop best practices and to support each other.
Local MP Rory Stewart said: "BritORA is a fantastic initiative. The UK Internet economy is already worth over £100 billion a year, is growing at 10% a year and directly employs over 250,000 people. BritORA will champion the growth of online businesses, especially in areas like Cumbria, which will be good for the local economy and great for Britain. The Internet economy is everywhere and Cumbria can be at its heart."
For details about how to become a member of BritORA and the associated benefits visit www.britora.org.uk
Eden District Council's Business Ambassador, Councillor Debra Wicks said: "Having BritORA based in Eden District is an excellent opportunity to enhance Eden's diverse rural economy; it can help micro businesses to access specialist help to support their expansion online.
"Small business operators often have the desire but not the time to fully explore the potential of expanding into online retailing successfully. BritORA can offer these companies real help to take those first tentative steps online or to expand their existing operations with expert advice and learning from the experiences of other companies. I wish BritORA every success in the future."
For more information about Eden District Council visit www.eden.gov.uk or follow us at www.twitter.com/edencouncil
Notes to Editors:
For more information contact the Communication Officer at Eden District Council tel: 01768 212137.
Bill Murphy, Managing Director of BT and one of the key speakers at the event said: "BritORA provides a great opportunity for the business community in Cumbria to learn from one another and its members will be in a great position going forward."
Adrian Quine, Executive Director of the British Online Retailing Association said: "The launching of both BritORA in Cumbria and our rural broadband pledge last Saturday was a huge success. People are telling us they are very excited about the UK's first dedicated trade association for small and medium sized businesses and the support we can offer. We will be working hard with all interested parties and stakeholders to ensure that business gets the best possible help it can in these testing economic times."
The British Online Retailing Association (BritORA)
About the founding Directors:
- Adrian Quine - Former BBC World Service reporter, Owner of FFP Media Ltd (visual media company), Edinburgh hotel owner, Transport consultant and entrepreneur.
- Graham Jeal - Former Analyst at J.P Morgan in London and New York. Former head of the Entrepreneurs Association in China, and company investor.
BritORA was created by small business owners like you because we realised that the needs of online businesses are significantly different to those of the high street.
To build the most influential and important community of successful online businesses in the UK
To engage online businesses, help them to grow, develop best practices and support each other. The Mission of BritORA is to help make our members' businesses stronger.
Our Core Values
Together we're stronger - Small Online Businesses will only be listened to credibly by government and major online intermediaries if we speak as one voice.
Good for Britain - The online economy is as important for jobs and growth to the UK as any other sector.
What goes around - Sharing experience and knowledge with each other will help everyone.
Personal Development - The experience of running a small business or working in an online business will be more rewarding if we learn new things all of the time.
Enjoy - Business is more rewarding when it is enjoyable. We celebrate success, enjoy our meetings and always look for new experiences.