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AN ALLIANCE of three major lobby groups will give a combined voice to more than 5,000 businesses across Dorset.

Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and the Institute of Directors (IoD) have joined forces to form the Dorset Business Alliance.

The aim is to give a collective voice to members, particularly as a single point of contact with Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

The alliance said each organisation retains its own identity but will meet the LEP quarterly and with other organisations when appropriate.

DCCI chief executive Ian Girling said: “This new business alliance represents the whole business community from micro businesses to large corporates.

“It will be a useful platform to come together on issues of mutual interest. At its heart is a shared purpose to represent the voice and views of businesses, particularly allowing us to engage directly as a link with the LEP on behalf of the business community.”

DCCI represents its members and those of its eight affiliated chambers across the county.

The FSB acts on behalf of micro and small businesses, while the IoD is the voice of directors from start-up entrepreneurs to blue chip board members.

Neil Eames, FSB development manager for Dorset, said: “Although we are unique business organisations, periodically coming together in this way to ensure a voice for local businesses, particularly aimed at the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership, can only be a positive step.

“It is important to strengthen the collective voice of companies throughout Dorset and we are committed to working together to ensure businesses have an input into the local economic agenda.”

Angela Piromalli, chair of the Dorset branch of the IoD, added: “This new partnership creates a strong platform to allow us to support the LEP in developing its engagement with the business community in addressing the key economic priorities across the county.

“There is great interest from our organisations to engage with each other as well as the LEP on behalf of the wider good of the business community.”

The LEP aims to drive economic growth in Dorset, bidding government money to prompt further investment from the private sector.

Rob Dunford, interim director at Dorset LEP, said: “It is hugely important for the Dorset LEP to be able to engage proactively and productively with the whole business community.

“The creation of the Dorset Business Alliance brings together three extremely valuable partners representing the broad spectrum of Dorset businesses and we are very much looking forward to working closely with them on delivering economic growth across Dorset.”

DCCI is acting as the secretariat for the alliance and will arrange quarterly updates with the LEP.