A new report on small firms from the Prime Minister’s Enterprise Advisor Lord Young, published today, reviews the changing face of business over the past 5 years. Lord Young’s report on small firms shows that small businesses are entering a ‘golden age’, with a record number of small firms now established in the UK – some 5.2 million, an increase of 760,000 since 2010 – and a record number of people in work.
It finds that our changing relationship with the internet has brought down barriers that might previously have stopped a good idea from being turned into a viable business. The government’s drive to roll out super-fast broadband around the country, which has now reached over 2 million homes and businesses, and the increasing use of tablets and smartphones providing on-the-go internet access have made it easier for those working for themselves to reach customers and make sales.
The report also charts a change in culture, with growing numbers of people choosing to be their own boss not simply out of commercial necessity, but because of conviction in their own ideas.
It also outlines how government policies providing more support for small firms and new enterprises have helped transform the business landscape over the past 5 years. As part of the government’s long term plan to back business, create jobs and build a more resilient economy, Lord Young was appointed as the Prime Minister’s Enterprise Advisor in October 2011 and asked to review support for small businesses and look at how new and developing businesses can grow.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
Lord Young has made a huge contribution as my Enterprise Advisor, with his reports driving home the importance of getting things right for small businesses and start ups. Small firms play a huge role in the economy and are absolutely key to delivering our long term economic plan. As well as being crucial enterprises in their own right, so often they also underpin the success of much larger companies as vital links in the supply chain.
Since his appointment, Lord Young’s reports have helped inform policy and led to new initiatives giving small businesses the support they need to thrive.
His first report as Enterprise Advisor, Make Business Your Business, published in May 2012, highlighted the record number of start-up businesses in the UK and introduced the government’s Start Up Loans scheme which now provides loans and mentoring to help new business ventures to get off the ground.
Growing Your Business, Lord Young’s second report, was published in May 2013, and paved the way for major reforms of public procurement to make it easier for small suppliers to win public sector contracts, a new Small Business Charter to improve university links with local small business communities, and a Growth Voucher programme to help small firms wanting to scale-up.
Enterprise for All, published in June 2014, focused on the entrepreneurial spirit in education. It looked at how schools, colleges and universities work with employers to inspire and motivate young people and help them make the best choices for their future education and careers. It recommended that young people should have a digital record of extra-curricular achievements and business-related activity, an Enterprise Passport, alongside their exam results.
Lord Young said:
In the last 5 years I have met countless numbers of inspiring entrepreneurs and small firms – from all ages and backgrounds and all reporting that starting a business is the most exciting and challenging thing they have ever done.
My report reflects on the key developments that government and its partners have supported to raise ambition about enterprise and enable entrepreneurs to build successful businesses.
Put these together and you can see the transformative effect on enterprise opportunities in the UK today. This is the golden age for small firms – there has never been a better time to start and grow a business.
Government support and accessible technology key to ‘golden age’ for small business