The Government is reaffirming its commitment to all the UK’s 5.5 million small businesses, with the creation of a new Small Business Council due to launch next month which will bring together SME leaders from across the country.
The Council builds on the Department’s existing support for SMEs and will provide a bespoke forum for small businesses to have their voices represented within Government.
Almost every business in the country is a small business (99.9%) who in turn support 27 million jobs across the UK, accounting for £4.5 trillion of annual turnover – which is why the government is making 2024 the year of the SME.
In addition to the formation of the Council, the Help to Grow campaign and website has also been refreshed to create a one-stop shop for SMEs to find the information they need to grow and scale up. This will include helping small firms to clearly identify what funding they can access, webinars as well as the basics of setting up a business for the first time.
The new site will bring together the support on offer from the government into one place, making it quicker and more convenient to find the resources business leaders and budding entrepreneurs need to succeed.
This support includes the new Help to Grow management courses as announced in the Autumn Statement. which go live today. The Help to Grow: Management scheme is an intensive 12-week programme to improve SME leadership and management skills. SMEs from all sectors are able to access the programme that is 90% subsidised by government. This has already supported nearly 8,000 businesses, with the ambition to support up to 30,000 over the programme’s lifetime.
To mark the refreshed campaign, the Prime Minister will host a panel event in Downing Street with small business leaders including, Tom Beahon of Castore, Tessa Clarke of Olio and Jordan Schwarzenberger of Arcade Media to discuss how to start and scale a successful business in the UK, leveraging talent, technology and the support already on offer. Julianne Ponan MBE, Owner and CEO of Creative Nature, said:
“The Department of Business and Trade played a pivotal role in enabling our expansion into international markets. We now export our products to more than 18 countries globally. Through their support, we participated in trade exhibitions such as Gulfood under the Great British Pavilion, where we successfully generated significant business opportunities.
Additionally, accessing matching funds has empowered us, as a small business, to venture into new markets that would have otherwise been challenging for us to enter the market as a Top 14 Allergen Free Food brand.”
Jake Xu, Co-Founder of Shakeup Cosmetics, said:
“We have had support from DBT at various stages of our business. Even before we launched, DBT put us in touch with their representatives in different territories, through these conversations we gathered valuable market insights as well as figuring out our best route to market. We then received Internationalisation Grant from DBT for a trip to Asia which led us to securing our distribution partner.
Last year, through British Business Bank and DBT, we successfully secured a 6 figure loan to supercharge our growth. It provided the lifeline to our business and the cash we needed to fuel our ambitious plan going forward.”