We want to make the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a business, and for the next decade to be the most entrepreneurial and dynamic in Britain's history. That is why, in January, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister launched “Business in You”, a major year-long campaign, to inspire people to realise their business ambitions and to highlight the range of support available for start-ups and growing businesses.
We recognise that these are challenging times for new businesses. In addition to ensuring that we have the right environment to help businesses grow, for example through reducing red tape and enabling small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) more easily to access public procurement opportunities, we have introduced a range of measures to encourage people to set up their own business.
Ensuring individuals can access the support and advice they need to start and grow their business
We have transformed the way that we enable people to access the information, guidance and advice they need to start and grow a business. We have put in place a range of services including;
www.businesslink.gov.uk website including My New Business, a comprehensive start-up service.
A Business Link helpline which will support those who are unable to access the internet.
A mentoring portal
www.mentorsme.co.uk providing an easy route to find experienced business mentors.
Ensuring businesses can access the finance they need
Ensuring the flow of credit to viable SMEs is essential for supporting growth and is a core priority for this Government. The Government have:
Introduced a new National Loan Guarantee scheme: up to £20 billion of guarantees for bank funding will be available over two years allowing banks to offer lower cost lending to SMEs.
Increased the funds available to invest through the Business Finance Partnership (BFP) to £1.2 billion. Government have invited the first round of proposals to help businesses access non-bank finance through the BFP, and will allocate £100 million of the BFP to invest through non-traditional lending channels.
Announced the continuation of the Enterprise Finance Guarantee scheme until 2014/15, providing, subject to demand, over £2 billion in total over the next four years.
Announced continuation of the Government's Enterprise Capital Funds programme, increasing our commitment by £200 million over the next four years, providing for more than £300 million of venture capital investment to address the equity gap for early stage innovative SMEs.
Launched a new Startup Loan scheme to provide advice and start-up finance for 18-24 year olds looking to start their own business.
Encouraged Business Angel investment through a new £50 million Business Angel Co- Investment Fund.
We know that positive encouragement is also necessary to show that starting a business is a great idea. You may be aware that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, has appointed my Noble Friend Lord Young of Graffham to advise on small business and enterprise issues. A key objective of my Noble Friend Lord Young's work is to demonstrate that this is a great time to start a business, with record numbers of people becoming their own boss, supported by a wide range of help and encouragement to entrepreneurs from all ages and backgrounds. On
We will continue to work with the SME community to explore barriers to business start-up and to develop policies to help address these barriers.