"Big Oaks from little acorns grow," - so the saying goes; and nothing is truer than nurturing our small businesses to achieve great things.

When things go wrong, as in the collapse of MG Rover and the job losses at Peugeot and elsewhere, it is often the smaller businesses who are the last to feel the serious domino effect that the collapse of such a major employer can have on their businesses and the community - both locally and in the wider context of the economy of the West Midlands as a whole.

Our hearts and our support is rightly with the families of all those affected - those directly employed at Longbridge, those in the immediate and secondary supply chains, those in the retail side as well as all the small shops and businesses who earn their living from the large employer.

Clearly when a company as old as Rover folds it has a profound effect on local communities who face uncertainty, and worry for what is to happen to them in the future.

What may surprise everyone though is the resilience and determination that small businesses show best when they are faced with adversity - some may have no option but to close, many though will tighten their belts, pull their horns in, suffer short-term hardship whilst getting on with re-growing their businesses in a different or diverse way. Small businesses, especially family concerns, in times of trouble tend to be the survivors.

There are those who make do and weather the storm and whilst we know the short term is going to be difficult, the future will in fact prove to be even brighter in very many cases.

We know ourour manufacturing continues to suffer more than any other sector.

However, here in the West Midlands and elsewhere we still have very many vibrant manufacturers who have already moved away from our older and more traditional industries, who continue to take on new employees, and who add more value by diversifying into new areas, and invest more in their future.

There is now an even bigger opportunity to retrain employees; to teach people new skills; to learn new business methods; and to build for the future on what just at present is a crisis for everyone involved.

Fortunately the Task Force has been able to implement support packages very quickly, and many in the supply chain had already decreased their dependency on such a major customer.

It is though at times like this that communities and support agencies truly pull together and look forward to the future to re-grow viable and thriving businesses for the future.

Many of our medium sized as well as our large businesses have grown over the years to prosper and to flourish; to grow into those "Big Oaks".

And we must do our utmost to ensure that this happens to all those affected both across the West Midlands and in the other communities in other parts of the country where jobs continue to be lost.

We wish all of our small businesses well - for their future as well as for our own.

Mike Cherry is West Midlands policy unit chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses