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Business & Economy

Entrepreneurs’ Forum urges business unity in coronavirus fight

North East businesses must honour financial agreements during the coronavirus crisis to protect the region’s valuable supply chain, the chief executive of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum has said.

Jonathan Lamb has called on firms to “treat each other with consideration” during the pandemic, saying it is imperative “relationships are not allowed to disintegrate.”

In an open letter to companies across the region, Jonathan [pictured] highlights the impact late payments can have on smaller businesses and calls for bosses to find pragmatic solutions amid the uncertainty caused by coronavirus.

Revealing some members have raised concerns over unpaid invoices, Jonathan said: “Supply chain companies play an important role in the region’s economy and we urge businesses, both large and small, to treat each other with consideration in these challenging times.

“It is vital companies continue to communicate, adapt whenever necessary, and honour their commitments.

“Only in this way can long-term partnerships forged over many years survive and emerge stronger and more resilient.

“North East entrepreneurs and business leaders must unite to ensure we work together to get through this.

“Most of all, businesses must communicate to see how they can support each other.”

In the letter – which is also signed by Forum chairman James Robson – Jonathan raises the prospect of companies finding ways around the uncertainty caused by coronavirus’ impact on the business community, suggesting firms look at different ways to action payment.

He said: “Before an invoice goes unpaid, perhaps the terms can be renegotiated to ensure a proportion of the sum is released.

“Alternatively, it may be that payment can be exchanged for the secondment of staff or provision of alternative goods or services.”

He added: “The North East has developed a strong reputation for its innovation, collaborative spirit and ‘can-do’ attitude.

“We all need to work together in the coming months if we are to continue strengthening the long-term partnerships that make this region such a success story.”