Your questions answered: Enterprise Nation's Emma Jones in conversation with the small business minister

Your questions answered: Enterprise Nation's Emma Jones in conversation with the small business minister
Emma Jones
Emma JonesOfficial

Posted: Tue 3rd Oct 2023

Enterprise Nation founder Emma Jones interviewed small business minister Kevin Hollinrake at the Conservative Party Conference's SME Day. Thankyou to everyone who submitted questions to our call out on LinkedIn.

As promised, here is what we covered:

The top small business priorities

The minister’s top three priorities are:

  • Access to finance: From StartUp Loans to growth capital, debt finance and equity finance.

  • Support and mentoring: Including to businesses with less than five employees.

  • Reducing barriers: Whether that be to getting paid on time, cutting red tape, export support or securing government contracts.

In other points:

  • VAT: The minister is keen to look at whether changes to the VAT threshold would lead to increased growth.

  • SME procurement: The minister welcomed moves to reduce the friction for small businesses selling to government via work on required insurance levels and previous credentials, with more work to come from the Procurement Bill. Moves such as those from the Cabinet Office to introduce a new framework, through which it will solely purchase from food and drink SMEs, are welcome.

    Read Enterprise Nation's report on why the government should spend more with small businesses.

  • Prompt payment: This continues to be a big issue and this will be addressed in the Prompt Payment and Cash Flow Review shortly. However, the minister noted positive moves such as the organisation Good Business Pays that is working on recommendations around more public reporting of payment terms from large companies.

    The government has since announced some of the measures to tackle late payment that will be announced in the review.

  • Making Tax Digital: The initiative, which digitises the tax system, will be extended when the government feels comfortable that businesses have the resources to manage the transition.

    Note from Enterprise Nation: We feel Making Tax Digital delivers a range of productivity and other benefits for small business as per the Making Tax Simple report we've launched today with Intuit. We would like to see a more rapid roll-out of Making Tax Digital.

  • Business support: Schemes will recognise the different sizes and needs of businesses. The government is also focused on widening access to Help to Grow Management and not discriminating against firms with few employees and freelancers. This is being addressed with consideration of scaling support and mentoring to smaller firms.

  • Engagement: The small business inister confirmed the Department for Business and Trade as the single front door of engagement for business. Kevin Hollinrake himself can be contacted on X (formerly Twitter) and LinkedIn.

You can see the small business minister's responses to other questions submitted by entrepreneurs here.

Image credit: @bhatti_saqib on X

Emma Jones
Emma JonesOfficial
Following a degree in Law and Japanese, Emma joined international accounting firm Arthur Andersen, where she worked in London, Leeds and Manchester offices and set up the firm's Inward Investment practice that attracted overseas companies to locate in the UK. In 2000, bitten by the bug, Emma left the firm to start her first business, Techlocate. After 15 months, the company was successfully sold to Tenon plc. The experience of starting, growing and selling a business from a home base gave Emma the idea for Enterprise Nation which was launched in 2006 as the home business website. The company has since expanded to become a small business membership community of over 75,000 people who benefit from events and support: online and in person. Enterprise Nation also presents a campaigning voice to government and the media on behalf of its members. In 2021, Emma was awarded a CBE for services to small businesses and entrepreneurs.

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