Lord Young, advisor to the Prime Minister on small business and enterprise, has today published his second report for the Government – Growing Business: A report on growing micro businesses.
In this latest report, Lord Young highlights the increasing importance of micro businesses (those with fewer than 10 employees) for the success of the economy – these small firms now make up 95% of private sector businesses. He identifies a number of recommendations to help small and micro firms develop their confidence and ability to grow.
Lord Young introduces his report in this short video:
- Since its launch in the autumn, the Start-Up Loans scheme has provided over 3,700 loans. Lord Young recommends lifting the age cap – currently set at 30 years old – for the Start-Up Loans scheme, as the fund develops, to enable entrepreneurs who would benefit to get their ideas off the ground.Intuit is a partner of the StartUp Loans scheme and provides each loan recipient with two years’ free access to QuickBooks Online, our cloud accounting software.
- Lord Young envisages a greater role for business schools in the local economy, and has asked the Association of Business Schools to develop a new national ‘Supporting Small Business Charter’ and associated award scheme to incentivise business schools to help small firms to grow.
- A £30 million Growth Vouchers programme is being introduced to help SMEs overcome barriers to growth. Firms could get specialist help in areas such as financial management, hiring a first employee, marketing and commercialising a website.At Intuit, we believe help with challenges such as financial management could be crucial to helping businesses grow. Our Three Year Glitch report finds that on average, one in three new businesses fail in the ﬁrst three years and poor ﬁnancial management is the main cause.
- Lord Young calls for more to be done to encourage businesses to take advantage of digital technologies. His report notes that the right technology can help businesses with everything from marketing and selling abroad to saving time on administrative tasks.Despite these opportunities, many small firms’ use of technology still falls short – 82% of small businesses have not adopted anything new in the last 12 months and still spend an average of 11.4 hours per week on administrative tasks which could be more efficiently managed using technology.The report notes statistics from Intuit which suggest that firms are five times more likely to feel confident about their finances if they are using accounting software to keep track of their business as opposed to spreadsheets or pen and paper.A programme will be announced later this year which will aim to encourage small businesses to exploit the web to achieve growth and exports and drive take-up of superfast broadband and other ICT supply services.
Lord Young has also recommended the following;
- Opening up procurement to small businesses in Local Government and the public sector by consulting and legislating to abolish pre qualification questionnaires (PQQ) on contracts under €200k and creating a “single market” approach to bidding, payment, advertising, monitoring and recording contracts.
- Enabling the private sector to provide advice to SMEs on the Government’s website gov.uk, and releasing the online SME advice that the Government holds after the closure of the Business Link online service to third party providers for them to rebuild and improve.
- Better marketing of Government schemes by ensuring they are properly resourced and targeted at the small firms that need them most, and that 5% of future initiatives be spent on marketing.
The Government is now exploring how to take these recommendations forward.
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