Small businesses entering a ‘golden age’ says Lord Young

Cameron’s enterprise advisor has reviewed “changing face” of UK enterprise in Report on Small Firms 2010-2015

Lord Young, the prime minister’s enterprise advisor, has said that small businesses are entering into a ‘golden age’ in 2015 in a new report on the UK’s enterprise eco-system published today.

Said to provide a summary of the “changing face” of business over the last five years, in The Report on Small Firms 2010-2015 Young claims that there are now some five million established small firms in the UK, a 760,000 increase on 2010,  with a record number of people in work – 30.8 million.

Looking at factors that have impacted small businesses over the last five years, Young reports that while tax and regulation have made a difference, the biggest shift has been the accessibility and mass adoption of new technology and the wider use of the internet:

“Technology has lowered the barriers to entry for people from all ages and backgrounds to make a business idea happen.”

Young also says that the attitude change towards entrepreneurship has led to an increase in start-ups; “in the last five years, I have met countless number of inspiring entrepreneurs and small firms […] all reporting that starting a business is the most exciting and challenging thing they have done”.

Government was also said to have been more “supportive” of small firms than the Parliament before; having introduced measures such as a £1.1bn package for business rates and business rates relief and facilitating Start Up Loans to 25,000 businesses, totalling over £131m.

Education was also on Young’s agenda in the report; he claimed education is opening up enterprise and outlined plans that new company is to develop an enterprise passport. A new set of industry-designed digital courses will also be rolled out to small firms.

Other key points Young makes in the report are that:

  • Social enterprises are on the rise – social ventures now account for 6% of UK businesses.
  • Government is opening up a trillion pound sector procurement market to small firms.
  • There has been an increase in funding initiatives over the last five years including investments from the British Business Bank, Funding for Lending, alternative funding providers, and the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS).
  • It is now easier “than ever before” to find business support through schemes such as Growth Vouchers and the Business Growth Service. Young also revealed there will be a new Small Business Charter which will encourage business schools to support small and medium enterprises.

Commenting on the findings, Lord Young said:

“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.”

Read the full report here.

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