The government has on Thursday announced 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 for Business and Trade’s existing support for SMEs and will provide a bespoke forum for small businesses to have their voices represented within the government.
The UK’s 5.5 million small businesses support 27 million jobs across the UK, accounting for £4.5 trillion of annual turnover.
“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our local communities and drive the UK’s economy, supporting jobs and wages across the country,” business and trade secretary Kemi Badenoch said.
“This new Council will mean SMEs have a clear voice at the table and we can deliver on the key needs for business. We are taking action to ensure that they have the support, tools and guidance they need to thrive – because when small businesses succeed, the UK succeeds.”
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 went live on Thursday.
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 per cent 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.
“I know first hand how important small businesses are, but I also understand some of the barriers they face to start up or grow their existing firm,” small business minister Kevin Hollinrake said.
“Which is why I’m proud of the work we’re doing as government to really tackle some of the burning issues SMEs face on a daily basis – only then can we help boost jobs and grow the economy.”
The small business minister is also launching the Lilac Review jointly with Small Business Britain – a major new independent review determined to tackle and overcome the inequality faced by disabled business owners.