The small business voice in government engagement

The small business voice in government engagement
Emma Jones
Emma JonesOfficial

Posted: Mon 24th Apr 2023

Today I will attend the government's Business Connect event which is bringing together ministers from several departments with those who are running and representing business.

I attend as founder of a growing and tech-enabled company with a team of 45+ people, operating in UK/EU, to share the frictions and opportunities this presents. But of more importance, I attend to represent the Enterprise Nation community of 100,000+ members and small business owners.

Points of policy

On your behalf, I will speak to four key areas of policy on which we are focused in 2023:

  • Access to money: From getting paid on time to being able to confidently raise money from a variety of sources.

  • Access to markets: Enabling small businesses to be supplier ready to sell to government and major corporates, and making the most of trading marketplaces and services to sell to the world.

  • Access to people: Tapping into young talent by accessing apprenticeships through to harnessing mentorship and the wisdom of those who are 50+ and being attracted back to the workforce.

  • Access to space: The need for new and affordable live/work homes as well as temporary retail space so small businesses can pop-up and experiment with showcasing their brand in the physical world.

We developed these four areas after listening to Enterprise Nation members throughout 2022 with the word used most regularly being 'access' when it came to what small businesses want.

Founders also want access to government. We have worked with government for more than a decade on small business engagement, driven by the simple belief that the closer policymakers are to the constituents they serve, the better the policy. This Business Connect event is welcomed as an opportunity to engage with ministers and civil servants who are making key decisions on behalf of small businesses.

Data as a thread

Across all policy areas, data and insight on what works is essential. This is why we are building the Enterprise Nation platform to measure impact of specific interventions i.e. what type of support works for which type of business.

This is especially important as we see funding for business support (in the guise of the Shared Prosperity Fund) run until March 2025. I would like to see a world where data, insight, and small business owners themselves are influencing the funding and shape of business support that follows.

What have I missed?

Monday's event is a valuable opportunity to ensure the small business voice is heard. What else is on your mind that you would like conveyed to the government at the event and beyond?

Please email Enterprise Nation's head of policy Charlotte Thomason or send me a message on Twitter at @emmaljones

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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