Posted: Mon 27th Jan 2014
With record numbers of new businesses being formed in the UK, it's easy to think that's all we need to do to build a sound economic future.
But one question that needs to be answered is how are we going to help these fledgling companies get to the next level? How can our economy adapt to this change and provide the myriad of opportunities these new businesses need to grow?
One thing that can make a powerful difference to the long-term sustainability of a small business is working with big business. Picking up a contract, supplying a product or service without having to take out a loan to afford it, can deliver the kind of boost that can transform a growing company's fortunes.
It doesn't take a genius to work out that the smallest firms can't cope with the late-payment, sale or return, bulk-purchase world that established firms inhabit. Not to start with at least.
Launched today, the Business Exchange is a new website which positively encourages the biggest names in UK PLC to make open pledges to do business with small ones.
The platform, built in collaboration with Enterprise Nation, and supported by Government, has opened with pledges from top firms like Facebook, Balfour Beatty, BT, and Sainsbury's. The pledges offer exactly what small businesses look for - opportunity, understanding about the things that concern SMEs, and a willingness to consider new ideas.
The Exchange will focus on and deliver pledges within five main categories:
Markets (opening up procurement and help with exporting)
Ideas (fostering innovation opportunities)
Support (sharing resources)
Finance (supply chain finance opportunities and prompt payment)
People (skills and overtraining)
Offers will include pledges to pay start-ups and micro businesses promptly, offers to open up supply chain and procurement opportunities to the wider SME community, instigating small business supplier targets as well a commitment to seek out and use British-made products and services. They will be updated as new pledges come in.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
"As part of our long term economic plan, we will keep doing everything we can to make Britain the best place to start, grow and do business. This is a Government on the side of business and enterprise which is backing our record number of start-ups and small businesses so that they can grow and create more jobs for hard-working people.
"The Business Exchange will strengthen the links between businesses big and small, opening up fresh opportunities and the exchange of new ideas, and helping us compete in the global race."
The fact that big businesses recognise there needs to be a slightly different approach to doing business with the smallest firms is good news for the British economy. It's also a great way for big business to tap into exciting new ideas, and experience them through fresh, start-up eyes.
The Business Exchange will be epic. Bookmark it immediately.