Mr Prisk is spending the day with Bethnal Green-based DIY Kyoto, which makes wireless electricity meters to help consumers save energy.
The ‘Week in Small Business’ initiative was introduced by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to gain an in-depth understanding of the specific needs of small and medium sized businesses (SMEs).
SMEs account for more than 99 per cent of private businesses and their performance and activity is a key driver of the UK economy.
Mr Prisk is also actively encouraging employees working on enterprise policy at the Department to participate in the initiative over the next year to help boost their understanding of the real-life issues faced by smaller firms, and bring SMEs and Government closer together.
Mr Prisk said:
“This initiative is very important to me. It is a great opportunity to gain real-life experience and understand the issues small businesses and entrepreneurs face. This will enable us to capture ideas where Government can remove barriers to enterprise and test policy assumptions with real businesses.
“As I used to run my own business I have a strong idea of what really matters to business owners. This experience will give me even stronger insight into what small businesses need from Government, particularly as they prepare for the economic recovery.
“DIY Kyoto is a great place to start my work experience. It is a thriving company producing a revolutionary product. I am really keen to roll up my sleeves and understand exactly how the business works, and what issues they may face in the future.”
DIY Kyoto designs and manufactures wattson, an energy meter which consumers use to monitor their electricity usage by the minute. The company was set up to encourage and assist people in considering the amount of energy they consume on an everyday basis.
The founders now act as consultants and experts within the design, energy and environmental sectors, as well as developing additional features for _wattson _and continuing to grow their company.
Richard Woods, Co-Founder and Director of DIY Kyoto, said:
“We are delighted to have Mark Prisk working with us for a day. We are about to launch a new investment round in order to fund a number of new products in the UK, so we will be talking to Mark about these opportunities, and other ways the Department for Business can help and serve small businesses such as ours. We have just launched the high capacity wattsonXL for businesses, so we have got plenty of calls for Mark to make as well!”
Notes to Editors
The final schedule for the remainder of Mr Prisk’s ‘Week in Small Business’ will be finalised in due course.
The ‘Week in Small Business’ initiative builds on an existing training programme within the Department for Business. Previously employees across the Department were encouraged to undertake short placements in business. The new initiative places emphasis on visits to small businesses in particular, and employees will be encouraged to spend time at those businesses which are at the forefront of leading growth.
DIY Kyoto was founded by three Royal College of Art (RCA) graduates - Greta Corke, Richard Woods and Jon Sawdon Smith - In 2005. After three years of design and development they launched wattson, an energy monitor for domestic use providing a live read out of electricity consumption. The company also markets holmes, a computer programme which works with wattson to monitor electricity use. The company received some funding from NESTA in 2005/6 as part of ‘The Creative Pioneer Programme’ which made contributions to early stage businesses. This programme was set up to provide support to early stage creative businesses, and provided a mixture of mentoring and other non-financial support, along with a small amount of funding. The company has also used the British Library Business and IP Centre, and the East London Small Business Centre.
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Notes to Editors
BIS Press Office