A non-profit business association, also called a sector trade group, business association, industry association or sector business group, is a voluntary organization run and controlled by companies who operate in a particular industry. The aim of such associations is to support and promote the development of the companies and the industries within the industry. They conduct various activities such as business planning, business research, in-plant assistance, networking of resources, awards and recognitions, training and education, networking and issues specific to the companies involved. They are generally formed as a sector upon the recommendation of an expert in a particular area. As they are formed from different sectors, they often pool resources and receive funding from various bodies.
There are various types of Business Associations, including Service Business Associations, Business to Business Associations, Retail Associations, Trade Associations and Technological Associations. There are many business clubs associated with these associations. In the UK, there are also business incubators and business development associations. These associations provide training to start-up and small business owners, help develop small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and help develop new skills for the business community at large.
Business to business associations are beneficial to the entire business community because they help to attract business and investment to a limited company. They also help the business owner by giving him a forum through which he can be assisted in achieving growth and development. The services offered by business associations include expert advice on acquisitions, strategic planning, venture capital, mergers and acquisitions, business strategy and operations, expansion, sales and marketing, and working capital management. The advice they render is generally limited to the areas related to the association’s activities.