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Govt set to launch £30m small firm mentoring scheme

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The Government is set to launch a £30m mentoring programme for small firms to seek advice on how to grow their business.

The Government has agreed to introduce a number of recommendations put forward by the prime minister’s enterprise adviser Lord David Young in a report, Growing Your Business, published today.

Young recommends a £30m growth voucher scheme where firms would be given vouchers that could then be used to seek specialist help on expanding their workforce, marketing the business, financial management and growing online.

The report argues businesses that take external advice at key stages grow faster but few are doing it so the Government has agreed to spend £30m trialling a number of schemes over the next two years.

Former cabinet minister Lord Young also suggests expanding the Government’s start-up loan scheme to people of all ages.

Currently only people under 30 can access Government start-up loans, averaging £4,500, for business ideas to get off the ground. Since its launch last autumn, it has approved 3,768 loans worth around £16m.

The report also argues for 5 per cent of the Government’s budget for business schemes, such as enterprise investment schemes, to be spent on marketing. 

Lord Young says: “Growing our smallest businesses would transform our economy – they are the vital 95 per cent. If just half of the UK’s micro businesses took on an additional member of staff, unemployment would be reduced to almost zero. We need to raise the aspirations and confidence of these businesses and give them the tools to grow.”

Business minister Michael Fallon says: “We are supporting ambitious small firms to grow, create jobs and achieve their goals. Whether that is by providing access to mentoring and advice, cutting red tape or through successful schemes like start-up Loans.

“But we are determined to go further and faster: Lord Young’s important report sets out a series of practical steps that can make a real difference to entrepreneurs across the country.”

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Comments

There are 8 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. “If just half of the UK’s micro businesses took on an additional member of staff.”

    I will bow to lord young’s obvious success and experience in business, however most micro businesses are such because they are husband and wife enterprises that will never take on external staff.

    What, in my opinion needs to be done is an extension and bringing forward of the employer’s NI rebate. It has to be the most idiotic tax ever devised, taxing something that you want more of.

    I would say that that £30m would be better spent on that as well as extending the excellent SEIS allowance. Apart from themselves no-one will push young managers in the right direction more than engaged shareholders.

  2. Oh boy the usual suspects will be rubbing their hands. E&Y, PWC. Deloittes & KPMG will no doubt appoint a new graduate to advise the poor suckers. And £30 million should just about cover 10 firms at their charge out rate.
    What a great idea.

  3. Hi Hugh,

    I thought you might be interested to see this article.

    Cheers

    Colin

  4. Why the obsession with small companies employing 1 here and 1 there.

    What we need are low taxes on wealth creation and employment, low energy costs, employment and business friendly regime that will attract large manufacturing companies and businesses employing 500+ people at a time!

  5. Greater help for small businesses would come from reducing the impact of employment legislation (currently 35 employment policies), tackling the claims culture that pervades everyday life, reducing Corporation Tax for small businesses ( to put them on a par with big business) and stop using businesses to do the social engineering that Government seem to want us to do all the time.
    The collective reduction in cost and more importantly time for entrepreneurs would far outweigh the benefits of consultants wanting a share of your business to provide limited advice.

  6. Julian Stevens 14th May 2013 at 5:46 pm

    If the government is concerned about helping small businesses, how about some measures to halt the destruction of small IFA business as a result of excessive regulation and entirely disproportionate regulatory levies?

    A good place to start would be to force the FCA to abide by the Statutory Code of Practice for Reulators instead of allowing it to continue ignoring it.

  7. Exactly Julian, and it would not cost them a penny.
    The money we pay in fees and levies could be better spent employing people.
    We can but dream.

  8. Lack of joined up thinking 16th May 2013 at 9:49 am

    “Growing our smallest businesses would transform our economy – they are the vital 95 per cent”
    Priceless.
    If we as a small firm want to taken on say 2 extra IFAs plus 2 support staff, (assume total sals of say £100k) we would need to first come up with a spare £50k to cover the usual cashflow needed PLUS extra cap ad at min £25k.
    So for a small firm with profits already squeezed by regulation, levies and constant changes, thats a non starter.
    Its a stifling regime in which to trade and the people at the top are either really stupid or totally ignorant of the realities of this. Um, or both.

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