Enterprise Week brings fresh calls for Government aid

Enterprise Week is here - but is the Government doing enough to help the current crop of small businesses?

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

It’s Enterprise Week here in the UK, part of a global celebration of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship. The idea is to help people – particularly young people – get their creative juices flowing, and to inspire a new generation of business leaders and innovators. But with dozens of small businesses desperately struggling for survival, not everyone is convinced the Government is doing enough to help those entrepreneurs that have already taken the plunge…

Enterprise Week is the British leg of Global Entrepreneurship Week – for the first time, over 70 countries around the world have signed up to run their own version of the event. Last year over half a million people took part in more than 5,000 events across the country, and around 6,000 events are planned this time round. Various bigwigs – including Gordon Brown – turned up at the launch event today, where Business Secretary Lord Mandelson told the assembled throng: ‘Investment into UK entrepreneurs is vital to our economy… Myself and my government will stand full square behind you.’

However, not everyone’s convinced by their credentials. Today the Federation of Small Businesses reiterated its call for a £1bn Small Business Survival Fund, which would replace the Small Firms Loans Guarantee Scheme in the short term and provide access to finance for those businesses in the greatest need – finance that the banks are still unwilling or unable to provide. It also wants Gordon Brown to postpone the much-maligned increase in the small business corporation tax rate, which is due to go up from 21% to 22% in April next year. Not exactly ideal, to be increasing business taxes in the middle of a recession…

The timing of Enterprise Week may seem a little unfortunate. Business confidence is at its lowest ebb for many years, and trade bodies are telling us on a weekly basis about just how bad the situation is getting in the engine room of the UK economy – small firms everywhere are struggling to get access to the finance they desperately need to trade out of the current downturn. So for any would-be entrepreneurs, it isn’t exactly the most propitious circumstances in which to think about setting up a business.

Then again, it’s also true that we’ve never been more in need of brilliant thinkers with inspired ideas, if UK plc is to have any hope of recapturing its former glory. And if any future Dysons or Bransons are inspired by this week’s activities, it’ll be worth every ounce of effort that goes into it...

If you want to get involved, check out http://www.enterpriseweek.org.uk/

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