New measures for SMEs announced

The Government is introducing new measures to support small businesses, the Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock has announced.

Speaking at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) 40th anniversary conference, Mr Hancock said the Government will create 20 business schools which will help to establish a 'Small Business Charter'.

The Small Business Charter aims to develop business schools as ‘anchor institutions' that are well-placed to support small businesses in their areas.

The minister also announced:

  • two new Entrepreneurs in Residence, who will help the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills shape small business policy
  • a £1 million technology design competition for small, innovative businesses.

Announcing the measures, Matthew Hancock said:

"Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy and with two thirds preparing to expand it is our desire to make sure they have everything they need to thrive. Small businesses should influence and inform Government on what advice and support works best for them, so I'm pleased to be able to announce further measures that allow them to provide their input."

John Allan, national chairman of the FSB, said:

"The FSB welcomes this ongoing focus on small businesses at the heart of Government, and especially efforts to sharpen up the support offered to them. Maximising the expertise business schools offer can only enhance growth prospects for small firms, and the development of growth hubs should provide a much clearer signposting of the wide range of support there is available."

The Chancellor George Osborne was also speaking at the FSB conference. He announced a new consultation on plans to require lenders to release information on SMEs they reject for finance, so that they can be identified and approached by alternate credit providers.

The Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

"By putting the onus on banks to refer these businesses to other sources of finance, we can help make sure the potential of the country's small businesses isn't lost. A better referrals system will be good for competition, and good for the economy."

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