Posted: Fri 11th May 2018
With five of Enterprise Nation's partners - Beepurple, Boost Business Lancashire, South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership, Reigate and Banstead Borough Council and Transmit Start-Ups - we took a group of amazing small business owners and Enterprise Nation members to 10 Downing Street to meet Jimmy McLoughlin, business adviser to prime minister Theresa May. Here's what they discussed.
Harry Kimberley-Bowen, Frugly Juice
Christopher Dabbs, Nobis Media
Debbie Wright, Wright Retail
Tom Meades, gomi.design
Morgan Arnell, Crumbs Brewing
Emma Marks, Halliwell Marks
Steven Bishop, Beach Marketing
Anne Williamson, Customer Love
Guy Cookson, Hotfoot design
Robert Binns, Cotton Court
Catarina King, Society 1
Nicola McCracken, Daisy Dots photography
James Fleming, The Power Within Coaching
Krishma Vaghela, Franchise Futures
Delia Porter, Business Clan
Juliet Louisa Munro, Giggy and Bab
Dawn Crossingham, D52
On the agenda:
Morgan said his main challenge is cashflow. He invested his own money into the business, but now needs cash investment. He said he's not clear on what investment is out there and suggested a match funding scheme.
Harry has started a business turning wasted fruit and veg into juice. He has partnered with the Real Junk Food Project and has a close relationship with farmers.
He wants to not just provide a great product, but also raise awareness around waste products and health which links in with the political debate around the Sugar Tax.
Catarina runs a workspace which has 60 members after just one year.
She said one of her biggest challenges is the need to take on a first member of staff but lacking the funding. She suggests incentives for small business owners to take on their first employee.
Robert discussed the need for better classifications of businesses. Companies with two and 250 employees should not be in the same category, he said. Better classification would help understanding around what support different businesses need.
Accountancy is a big cost, Steven said, and there are many complexities with running a creative or design business such as VAT.
Emma and her family run a successful local estate agents business, but they want to grow. She asked for incentives for local businesses to take the next step in growth.
Debbie raised the topic of self-employed mums running a business. It's difficult to keep your business running while on maternity leave, she said, before suggesting that the government look at flexibility for maternity allowance.
James works with small businesses and start-ups and said a lot of new entrepreneurs do not know the basics and and where to access support.
He suggested a toolkit with free accountancy advice, legal advice etc and better signposting to the support that is already out there.
Delia suggested the following:
removal of the VAT threshold, because it holds back businesses from growing, and in particular from employing more staff
reintroduction of the 0% corporation tax band, so that businesses can grow their working capital which makes it easier for them to manage cash flow and plan ahead
reintroduction of the matched funding Growth Voucher scheme, but with the ability for businesses (and not just start-ups) to use that money to implement advice as well as receiving advice
Writing in a follow-up blog post, Guy said:
"One of the points I raised is that Manchester and Liverpool are buzzing at the moment. Their skylines are populated with cranes. The so-called Northern Powerhouse feels tangible there.
"But just as important to the economy are the hundreds of smaller towns dotted around the country.
"Lancaster is one such place. According to Michael Gibson, chair of Digital Lancashire, some 1,500 people work in the digital, tech and creative sectors in Lancaster. These are well paid highly skilled jobs. And the number is growing year on year.
"It is not hard to see why Lancaster is well placed to host cutting-edge businesses.
"We have amazing transport links, but there are also problems. Travelling east can be laughably difficult by road or rail.
"If plans for HS2 go ahead Lancaster will lose direct access to Glasgow and London.
"There is a shortage of collaborative workspaces and offices for growing companies. The broadband infrastructure is just not good enough."
Just hoping my suggestion of reintroduction of growth vouchers to receive funded advice plus a flat VAT rate of 10% for all businesses regardless of turnover gets consideration in government for I believe this would impact positively on SME's growth potential.
— D52ltd #BusinessToolkit (Dawn Crossingham) (@D52ltd) May 11, 2018
Some images from the trip:
Huge thanks to Rob, Cat, Guy and Anne for representing #Lancashire so amazingly and giving up your time to help tell and share your thoughts/stories about how we can better support #Lancashire businesses both locally and nationally! #GrowingLancashire #sunwasout! ^AL pic.twitter.com/gbIbUx7STM
— Boost Business Lancs (@BoostInfo) May 8, 2018
.@deliajporter was invited to @10DowningStreet as one of the UK's Top Business Adviser with @e_nation to suggest budget changes to the PM's Business Adviser. Read more ➡️ https://t.co/uTDF2c4Usj #SmallBiz #SMEUK pic.twitter.com/I97s6TOy8p
— Business Clan (@BusinessClan) May 9, 2018
Thrilled to attend yesterday's meeting at #10DowningStreet with PM's business adviser Jimmy McLoughlin as an #ENmember. Thank you to @JimmyM, @e_nation and @emmaljones for this fantastic opportunity to have our say. And to these charming bobbies, thanks for the lovely pic! pic.twitter.com/vrvYxdfyps
— Giggy and Bab (@giggyandbab) May 9, 2018
Great to be asked to join 19 other entrepreneurs to meet the PMs Business Adviser today to talk startups and business growth. Thank you for having us @10DowningStreet @theresa_may @jimmym @emmaljones @e_nation #franchise #franchising #London #startups pic.twitter.com/31O9wgfPKX
— Krishma Vaghela - Founder of Franchise Futures (@krishma_vaghela) May 8, 2018
Proud to see @uobbeepurple student and graduate entrepreneurs at @Number10press Downing Street with @e_nation yesterday. Look forward to seeing some of them pitch in tomorrow's Santander @uniofbrighton Ideas Competition Final 🔥 pic.twitter.com/M23FvmqwcQ
— beepurple (@uobbeepurple) May 9, 2018
— Crumbs Brewing (@CrumbsBrewing) May 8, 2018
— Boost Business Lancs (@BoostInfo) May 11, 2018