Lord Young announces “there has never been a better time to start working for yourself”

Simply Britain: Backing Business event sees leading entrepreneurs and politicians come together to discuss support for small businesses

Government enterprise advisor Lord Young announced today that “there has never been a better time to start working for yourself” at an event which looked to discuss support for small and micro-businesses and sole traders.

Hosted by Simply Business, the Simply Britain: Backing Business event coincided with the release of a new report which found that over 50% of small firms are disillusioned with local and central government.

Despite the findings, Lord Young asserted that the economic outlook for small businesses was largely positive:

“We’ve got the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) and Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS), the growth vouchers scheme, corporation tax is coming down, the restrictions on starting your business from home are no longer” and argued that recent growth was due to the “government being off your back”.

Yet he was quick to assert that the UK should not have a dedicated business minister as “the best thing that can happen to small business is to stay under the radar […] a minister for business will want to be seen to be introducing policies”.

The Baron also revealed some new national business initiatives set to come in to place mid-January 2015 which included an “enterprise passport” for “every single person in the education network”; a scheme that would give students the chance to take part in “thousands of activities” to help them into the world of business, regardless of the grades they receive.

Other impending new schemes included awards for universities with enterprise and business courses and degrees, as well as a public contract finder which will seek to encourage “everyone to pay up within 30 days”.

The event was attended by a line-up of impressive entrepreneurs such as Will King of King of Shaves, Kanya King of the MOBO Awards, Russ Shaw of Tech London Advocates, Michael Hayman MBE and Oli Barrett MBE, and included a series of panel discussions.

Speaking on a panel about government policy, Wayra’s Simon Devonshire argued that the issues “weren’t about starting a business but scaling up” and outlined problems with online adoption stating that “more than half of small businesses don’t have a website”.

Startups’ very own editorial director Ian Wallis also chaired a discussion with small business owners Rekha Mehr, Tom Blake, Sarah Lockhart-Martin, and Rob Welch, on the start-up challenges they had faced and their thoughts on policy. The entrepreneurs identified issues over intellectual property, raising finance, and access to mentors, and there was a unanimous view that starting a business made it difficult to a good achieve work/life balance.

Find out more about the Simply Britain: Backing Business report here.

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