Rory launches British Online Retailing Association
A committed broadband activist, Rory on Saturday 14 April launched the UK’s first national trade association specifically for online businesses – BritORA (British Online Retailing Association) – alongside local business owners, Cumbria’s High Sheriff Iona Frost-Pennington, Graham Jeal of the NFU, East Cumbria Community Broadband Forum (ECCBF) representative Libby Bateman, and Bill Murphy of national telecomms company BT.
The event, held at Low House near Armathwaite, aimed also to raise awareness of the importance of online retailing to Cumbrian businesses; the organisation, which will have its headquarters in Lazonby in the Eden Valley, aims to look after the specific interests of small to medium sized enterprises who have, or wish to develop, an online presence. BritORA’s vision is to build the most influential community of successful online businesses in the UK – engaging with local enterprise, helping them to grow, developing best practices and providing a network of support for each other. Members of BritORA will have access to free legal advice, full business and legal, tax and VAT insurance protection. Membership will be priced at an introductory rate of £89.
Local MP Rory Stewart said: “Online business is booming, and BritORA’s aim – to meet the needs of online retailers who would benefit from a better support structure – is an admirable one. This is an excellent initiative, which will champion the growth of online business in Cumbria and indeed other rural areas just like it. This is good for the local economy, the wider rural economy, and indeed the national economy. Micro-businesses are the future of our economic revival, and here in Cumbria we continually break records that highlight our success at running small enterprises.”
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. 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 publicly pledge their support for better broadband not just here in Cumbria but across the whole of the UK.”
Rory Stewart MP with (left to right): Graham Jeal (NFU), Maria Whitehead MBE (Hawkshead Relish), Libby Bateman, Rory Stewart MP, Adrian Quine (BritORA) and Bill Murphy (BT)