There's a great scene in Monty Python's Life of Brian when Reg, the leader of the rebels, asks: "And what have the Romans ever done for us?"
His colleagues begin listing the Romans' achievements. Eventually an exhausted Reg says: "OK, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system and public health - what have the Romans ever done for us?"
As with the Romans and the People's Front of Judea, so it is with the CBI and growing businesses. It might seem prima facie that we don't do much for you but, in reality, we are consistently working to improve your day-to-day life.
Growing businesses are at the heart of all our policy making. It is a common misconception that the CBI is the voice only of big business.
In reality, we are an independent membership organisation which represents businesses of all sizes and has a specific team dedicated to our 200,000 SME membership called the Enterprise Group. Recent lobbying successes include helping reshape the Small Firms Loan Guarantee Scheme.
We encouraged government to extend the programme to allow businesses to borrow up to £250,000 secured with a guarantee from government.
Another notable success has been securing common start dates for regulations, meaning that new laws come into force on either April 6 or October 1, rather than hitting employers at random times throughout the year.
The CBI also lobbies to simplify tax and reduce regulation.
The R&D tax credit was introduced as a consequence of CBI lobbying.
We have an e-business team who lobby to make it easier to do business online. We fight for better procurement and address skills shortages and staff training.
We have put forward recommendations to improve the planning system, reduce the high price of energy and fought against compulsory employer pension contributions for SMEs. Regionally we consult with One NorthEast, Government Office North East, the Learning & Skills Council and the Business Support Network to make the North-East a better place to grow your business.
And we offer excellent networking opportunities, both regionally and nationally.
So, in conclusion, the CBI continues to lobby hard to improve the environment for fast growing businesses - can you afford not to have your voice heard?