For our members
not for profit

The Forum is a leading small business support group dedicated to helping business owners focus on growth and profitability.

About The Forum

The Forum of Private Business (Forum) is a not-for-profit business support organisation whose membership is spread throughout the UK and is made up primarily of private companies that employ between 1 and 25 people.

The Forum was founded by Stan Mendham OBE in 1977. Stan, a chartered engineer, was frustrated with the way big businesses dominated the commercial world in the UK, increasingly concerned by the lack of understanding of smaller businesses in the economy and dismayed by mounting red tape. After studying member-based organisations for smaller businesses in America and Canada, he decided to create a British equivalent.

Over the years, as the business landscape has changed, so too have the needs of our members. In order to stay relevant we have evolved our support and services to meet those member needs. However we remain dedicated to representing our members and helping them focus on compliance, profitability and growth.

Most businesses now join the Forum to protect their business and take advantage of our practical business support as well as various money-saving offers. Membership of the Forum starts from just £175 per year and includes comprehensive legal expenses insurance cover, a 24-hour legal and general members helpline for support on all business issues and access to exclusive money-saving offers on essentials like utilities, cyber protection, telecoms, card processing, business insurance and purchasing.

The Forum is also recognised as a leading authority on business issues and represents the interests of business owners on numerous consultative bodies. It has been influential in many areas of policy-making, in changing laws that affect these businesses, and continues to campaign vigorously for the fair treatment of private businesses by decision-makers in the UK and the rest of Europe.

The Forum doesn’t operate for profit, but everything we do is about making sure our member businesses do. This means that every penny we make goes into supporting businesses to help them grow and thrive.

We’re business people too, and we talk to and support small business owners every day so know the challenges that companies are facing and we’re here with advice and support to help overcome them.

We support businesses

How we give businesses a voice


 Ian Cass, Managing Director   

Ian started his career in 1994 managing a UK sales team with a focus on strategic development and key account management. Ian then moved into a director role at Venture Team UK specialising in new ventures within the UK drinks market, again with focus on strategy, marketing and branding development. During this time Ian was approached by the Foum in 2013 to look at the strategy and development of the Forum’s sales leadership team and to review the partner strategy for members. Ian took the challenge, accepting the role as Sales Director and moved the business forward to where we are today; a small business membership organisation that always has a solution, whatever challenges a business may face. The Forum’s efficient, knowledgeable staff believe that everything they do for a small business owner is about wellbeing, growth and profitability. 

Ian comments "A business needs to be well organised to help it reach its full potential, building great partnerships as you go along. Networking and research development along with sales and marketing are key attributes for a business to be at its best. I am passionate about planning the strategy to achieve business goals and I fully support the small and medium business sector being a business owner myself. I believe small businesses are the backbone of the UK economy and we need to support local as well as UK-wide small business owners. There are lots of entrepreneurs that want to be innovative and want to grow they just need the support to do so".  


Membership Team

The Forum’s membership team is at the heart of everything we do, entirely focused on delivering an excellent customer service to our member businesses.

The team includes helpline advisers with a wealth of experience helping businesses on issues ranging from legal matters to funding and business growth. The helpline is the first line of support for our members when they have any issue, or just want a second opinion, and it is consistently cited as the number one benefit of Forum membership.

Our Business Development Executives are also on hand to help member businesses get the most out of their membership and can advise on ways to save money in your business and utilising partner benefits that are available.

We proactively keep in touch with all our members throughout the year to make sure we’re supporting you every step of the way. Members can contact the team directly on 0845 130 1722.


Leanda Hickman, Online Marketing Executive
Leanda is a qualified marketer gaining her Diploma in Digital Marketing with The IDM in 2009, and joined The Forum in April 2015.  Having a wealth of online and offline marketing experience in a variety of industry sectors, from financial services and business insurance to working within a fast pace agency in the heart of Manchester City Centre.  A dedicated marketer with experience of managing large marketing budgets ROI focus, Digital Marketing Strategy, SEO, channel marketing via social media , Pay Per Click and Campaign Management, along with performance analysis.  Leanda is keen to exceed personal targets aswell as improving staff performance within the department.