Prime Minister announces new initiatives to connect small firms with big business

‘Business Exchange’ and ‘Growth Voucher’ programmes set to provide support for small businesses to grow

Prime Minister David Cameron today announced the launch of two new initiatives, aimed at boosting the growth of small businesses with public and private sector support.

Launched today, The Business Exchange is a new website that aims to connect small firms with pledges of support from some of the biggest companies in the UK, including Virgin, Facebook and Sainsbury’s.

Offers will include public pledges to pay small business suppliers promptly, offers to open up supply chain and procurement to the wider business community, and commitments to seek out and use British-made products and services, amongst others.

The Exchange will focus on and deliver pledges within five key categories, which the government said represent the main areas small firms need help with:

  • Markets (opening up procurement and help with exporting)
  • Ideas (fostering innovation opportunities)
  • Support (sharing resources)
  • Finance (supply chain finance opportunities and prompt payment
  • People (skills and overtraining)

A number of pledges are already live on the site, including a package of marketing support from Facebook including one-on-one consultations and £25 free ad credit, a pledge from Sainsbury’s to meet and consider new food and clothing suppliers, and the BT Infinity lab initiative, a series of start-up competitions aimed at tech businesses.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “As part of our long term economic plan, we will keep doing everything we can to make Britain the best place to start, grow and do business.

“This is a Government on the side of business and enterprise which is backing our record number of start-ups and small businesses so that they can grow and create more jobs for hard-working people.

“The Business Exchange will strengthen the links between businesses big and small, opening up fresh opportunities and the exchange of new ideas, and helping us compete in the global race.”

Emma Jones, founder of Start-Up Britain and Enterprise Nation, commented: “The British entrepreneurial community is growing year-on-year.  This new breed of start-up and micro business needs to see more chances ahead of them on which to build a sustainable business for the long-term.

“Big businesses need to wake up to the opportunities that fostering a more entrepreneurial approach can bring, not just for small businesses, but for their own future success.”

Also announced today was the launch of the Growth Vouchers programme, a joint initiative between the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Behavioural Insights team in the Cabinet Office, set to offer small firms expert support for growth.

‘Vouchers’ will take the form of expert advice in areas such as managing cash flow, recruitment, marketing and making the most of digital technology.

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