Over the past decade, the UK has become one of the best places in the world to start and grow a business. This is no accident.
The capacity of our shared ecosystem to help new entrepreneurial businesses start and grow has been enabled by the low costs of entry, accessible technology, a flexible economy and a positive attitude towards self-starters and entrepreneurship; from the media, large corporates, and government. It takes collaboration on all levels to build such a complex system, and further effort to maintain and refine it.
As we approach Thursday’s election and the period of reflection that Brexit will catalyse, we should ensure that entrepreneurship and business policy remain central to the government’s agenda.
Entrepreneurship is no longer a niche concern. 383,000 British businesses were started in 2016 and the 5.4 million SMEs in the UK constitute 99% of all business activity.
While not everyone who starts a business is an entrepreneur, their entrepreneurial instincts and the interdependent networks they sustain are increasingly well understood as fundamental drivers of economic growth.
As we become more dependent on entrepreneurship the need to develop a dynamic enabling environment for new business creation has become an urgent economic concern. The performance of our ecosystem has consequences for job creation, regional development, innovation and growth at every level of the economy.
The Small Business Taskforce, of which GENUK is a founding member, is asking the next government to back small British businesses.
The group, which represents the voice of over one million small businesses, came together post-Brexit out of a concern that the appetite to continue to support an entrepreneurial environment that suits smaller firms was disappearing in Whitehall.
The 14 organisations on the Taskforce share the same uniting principle that entrepreneurship and self-starters are good for the economy, that small British businesses should be encouraged and supported to thrive and that the government should back small enterprises.
We are making six recommendations to the incoming government that we believe will deliver a more productive economy and fairer society.
The recommendations don't come with a big price tag attached, but they will mean better value for money, better policy decisions, and better support for small business.
The Small Business Manifesto
1. Provide an environment which champions the role of small businesses
Recognise the positive and powerful role played by SMEs in the UK
Ensure ministerial commitment with appointment of a small business minister
2. Provide a taxation system supportive of all businesses, large and small
Commit to a stable and certain tax system that encourages business investment and growth
Ensure that a digital tax system puts the need of businesses first
The tax system is far too complicated and needs radical simplification
3. Provide business support which is collaborative and adds value
Champion public/private partnerships in business support
Launch Export Vouchers
Re-instate Spaces for Growth programme
Support the creation of a single site for SMEs
4. Provide a pensions and benefits system that supports when needed
Consider viability of pension enrolment for self-employed
Review impact of Universal Credit on start-up success
5. Provide procurement opportunities which work for all
Change government SME procurement target
Expand remit of the small business commissioner
6. Provide a workforce that’s equipped for enterprise
Expand provision of digital skills and basic skills in numeracy and literacy
Build entrepreneurship into the school curriculum
Which party will help you start and grow your business?
The Small Business Manifesto is a route towards prosperity for all. We believe that it is small firms that are best placed to build an economy that works for everyone, in all parts of the UK. They need the support of the winning government to achieve this. We hope you take the time to read it in full, and that it helps you make an informed decision in the ballot box on Thursday 8th of June.
This election is an important opportunity for the UK business community to examine and understand the different proposals put forward by the UK parties. The fantastic election tracker, created by our colleagues at Enterprise Nation is a great starting point to understand what each party is promising small firms and startups. You can also Keep up-to-date with the issues that matter in their handy small business General Election tracker.