Skills and Enterprise Minister, Matthew Hancock announced the government’s plan to introduce new measures to support small businesses.
Minister Hancock, who was addressing the 40th annual Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) conference in Manchester, said the government plans to create 20 business schools to help establish a ‘Small Business Charter’.
The Charter aims to develop these schools as “anchor institutions” that are in a good position to support small businesses in their respective areas.
Mr Hancock also made the following announcements:
- Appointment of two new Entrepreneurs in Residence, who’ll work hand in hand with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to shape small business policy.
- A new £1 million technology design competition to drive innovation among small businesses.
”Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy and with two thirds preparing to expand; it is our desire to make sure they have everything they need to thrive. Small businesses should influence and inform government on what advice and support works best for them, so I’m pleased to be able to announce further measures that allow them to provide their input,” said Hancock.
The measures aim to support the growing confidence among SMEs highlighted in a FSB survey earlier this year, which concluded that more and more SMEs aspire to grow and expand this year than at any time in the last 2 years.
John Allan, National Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses said, “The FSB welcomes this ongoing focus on small businesses at the heart of government, and especially efforts to sharpen up the support offered to them. Maximising the expertise business schools offer can only enhance growth prospects for small firms, and the development of growth hubs should provide a much clearer signposting of the wide range of support there is available.”
Chancellor George Osborne, who also spoke at the conference, said that a new consultation plan has also been put in place which will require lenders to release information on SMEs they reject for finance, so that alternate credit providers can identify and approach them.