Government announces new measures to help small businesses grow and create jobs, export to new markets, secure finance and cut red tape.
Prime Minister David Cameron announced the the business growth package at the ‘Exporting for Growth’ and Fitness Finance conference that will benefit hundreds of small businesses. They include:
- £95 million investment from the Regional Growth Fund.
- the Web Fuelled Business initiative, helping businesses exploit the potential of the internet.
- The National Export Challenge, opening up new markets around the world.
- The Finance Fitness campaign, providing the support small businesses need to access finance.
Follow the Exporting for Growth and Finance Fitness event live [link expired]
The Prime Minister said:
“British SMEs are already doing incredible things, but we urgently need more of them to follow that boldness. We need this to be a country where more people think ‘I can start my own business and I can sell to the world.
“Our determination is to come through these difficult times stronger, to trade our way to growth and jobs. We need to show real optimism about the future, and we need to show real aggression about pursuing Britain’s interests in the world. The markets are there to be tapped; the deals are there to be done, the opportunities are there to be capitalised on. Now together we must seize them.”
Watch the Prime Minister’s speech
The business growth package
- £95 million of new Regional Growth Fund money has been allocated for SMEs who can’t access commercial funding. This is being directed to small businesses through RBS, Natwest and HSBC - and it is expected to unlock a further £500 million of investment. The fund uses the high street banks to provide finance for SMEs seeking to purchase assets and create employment, which are unable to secure commercial funding for their project.
- From April 1st ‘one-click registration’ will go live, so that businesses can get online, register their business at Companies House, sign up for PAYE registration, Corporation Tax and Self Assessment all in one place. The ability to register for VAT will be added shortly after.
- Launching the Web Fuelled Business initiative - the Department for Business is teaming up with founding Dragons’ Den panellist Doug Richard and Yell to get 3,500 businesses into workshops all over the country to ensure they are able to exploit the global opportunities offered by the internet.
- Launching the National Export Challenge; a series of initiatives to give SMEs the knowledge they need to make the first steps to breaking into new markets. The national challenge will get business intermediaries to provide sector knowledge and support for SMEs.
- Launching the ‘Open to Export’ web resource providing small businesses with professional export advice, hosted by Yell to allow UK firms to swap information and experiences directly.
- Launching a new campaign promoting different sources of finance to SMEs and giving them the tools and advice to access the finance they need, including advice and best-practice guidance for SMEs and a new Finance Finder tool on the BusinessLink website.
- A new UKTI prize for the best export idea. This prize will run regionally and nationally.
- A new “how to” export guide which professional services companies can use with their own branding to issue in branches, to memberships and customers.
- Promoting British business to the many journalists and international business people passing through London during the Olympic Games by establishing the new British Business Embassy, based at Lancaster House. It is estimated this will achieve £700m in export sales as a result of games-time activity.
- To support the growth of businesses in Tech City the Prime Minister announced the expansion of the Red Tape Challenge so that entrepreneurs and investors can tell the Government where rules and regulations get in the way of innovation.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said:
“Today, not only are we able to announce substantial new measures to support businesses, but also to see the commitment of private sector firms and organisations to tackling the economic challenges we face. We want to reach and help the 80 per cent of SMEs who don’t seek external advice before applying for finance.
“The small firms of today are Britain’s international success stories of our future and it is this success that will build the strong, balanced economy that will secure our economic prosperity.”