Small Businesses: Advisory Services

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 11th July 2017.

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Photo of Rachel Reeves Rachel Reeves Labour, Leeds West

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions the Government has had with businesses and finance providers on establishing schemes to provide advice to small businesses on how to secure finance.

Photo of Rachel Reeves Rachel Reeves Labour, Leeds West

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to increase the availability of free and low-cost financial and business advice for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Photo of Margot James Margot James Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

The Government is in regular contact with businesses and finance providers to understand the needs of small businesses. Our industrial strategy will address the barriers many of them face to scaling up and growing by improving access to finance across the country and back institutions which can drive growth and private sector equity investment.

Government is taking a number of steps to ensure small businesses can access support, including the UK’s business-led Productivity Council with £13 million to provide practical tools to businesses to improve productivity.

The Business Support Helpline provides signposting, diagnostic support and business improvement advice to pre-starts, start-ups, and existing businesses across phone and digital channels nationally.

The Government has also provided £38million to support and invest in the creation of a network of 38 Growth Hubs across England as an integral part of the Government’s ambition to drive local growth and productivity.

In addition, applicants to the Start Up Loans programme get access to mentors who provide them with advice alongside their loan, thereby enhancing their chances of success. At the end of May 2017, the Start Up Loans programme had lent £319m to more than 48,000 entrepreneurs.

We have invested an additional £400 million in the British Business Bank to catalyse later stage venture capital investments by the private sector. This will unlock £1 billion of equity funding, in later stage venture capital. And we will work with them to further understand the obstacles firms face accessing capital outside London and the South East.

The British Business Bank produces the Business Finance Guide, in partnership with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and a further 21 business and finance organisations, to increase smaller businesses’ understanding of the finance options available to them. This is also available as an online, interactive at https://thebusinessfinanceguide.co.uk/.

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