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A view of the iconic clock tower of the Houses odf Parliament in London.

The Autumn Statement – what’s in it for business?

24th November, 2016 No Comments


empty wooden bench in the quiet park during fall season

The short answer is ‘not a lot’, despite Mr Hammond stating “My priority as Chancellor is to ensure Britain remains the number one destination for business.”

Yesterday, Chancellor Philip Hammond brought us the last Autumn Statement for the foreseeable future as plans were announced for the spring Budget to be downgraded to the ‘Spring Statement’ and the main Budget to be delivered in the Autumn.

He outlined plans to increase spending on roads and transport links including the Oxford-Cambridge expressway and a major road scheme in the North, and extra funding to improve rail signaling.  But although transportation for businesses may be improved, with the rise in the Insurance Premium Tax from 10% to 12%, additional costs are set to come out of the pockets vehicle owners.

In line with George Osborne’s previous budget commitment, Corporation Tax will fall to 17% by 2020.  This is the lowest rate of all the G20 countries but not as low as Donald Trump’s promised to reduction of corporation tax in America to 15%. Speaking of “understandable public concern that the pitch is tilted in favour of multinational groups”, Mr Hammond said he would limit tax relief on corporate interest and the treatment of previous tax losses.

The most notable commitment is for a £23bn new national productivity investment fund to be spent over the next five years, increasing by £2bn a year by 2020/21. The fund is designed to bolster research and innovation.

Additionally, in the hope that takeovers of British tech start-ups by foreign buyers will be reduced, export finance is to be doubled and £400m will be injected into venture capital firms via the British Business Bank.

Small businesses in rural areas will receive tax reliefs up to £2,900

There will be a crackdown on employers offering ‘workplace salary sacrifice schemes’ (where workers receive untaxed benefits such as ultra-low emission cars instead of pay), whilst the National Living Wage will be increased from April 2017, and personal tax allowance increased to £11,500.  The self-employed will see a clampdown on so-called ‘disguised earnings’.

“This was always going to be a difficult statement from the new Chancellor given the uncertainties posed by Brexit.” said Kevin Horne, Chairman, Cavendish Enterprise.  “No doubt we can expect more in the next budget when sufficient time has elapsed for a considered approach to the needs of the country outside the EU.

“For small businesses there was not much to cheer but also not much to jeer either. For now it is “steady as she goes” but there is a massive opportunity for radical reform in leaving the EU and whilst it would involve short term sacrifice the long term prize could be great. Flat rate taxes, abolishing reliefs, simplifying regulation and really slashing bureaucracy will prepare us well for what the future holds – unfortunately few politicians have a long term approach caring more about re-election rather than strategy.”

Summarised by Davina Young , Marketing Manager, Cavendish Enterprise

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Brexit gets the majority, so what next?

19th July, 2016 No Comments


EU - UK flags

The voting is over, the results are in, and the dust is settling following the UK’s momentous decision to leave the European Union, and most people and businesses are now asking ‘What next?”. The country seems to be in a state of limbo as the overwhelming majority of citizens had thought that it would be business as usual following a vote to remain. But that was not to be. We now have a new cabinet and all eyes are on them to see if we have radical thinking or a ‘steady hand on the tiller’.

For the foreseeable future many investment decisions have been postponed, but any crisis, along with the threats it brings, also offers opportunities. The future of this country will depend on the extent to which we maximise on these opportunities, and minimise the threats. Many of us will have our own ideas of what to do, but it appears to me that what we need is a major overhaul of the way in which the country operates in order to grasp these opportunities and take bold steps to seize the chance to make the UK ‘a country of enterprise’ in the future.

It would be good to see politicians lay down a path with the least amount of obstacles in the way. With similar strong and decisive leadership, big businesses ought to be concentrating on long term plans and not the share value of today, and the banks should approve lending on all reasonable requests. Individuals need to take personal control of their futures, and SMEs should be looking at how they can make gains, maybe even at big business expense!

Back to my earlier comment about seizing the chance to make the UK ‘a country of enterprise’ I believe there’s already a real degree of enterprise around, but few people manage to realise their aspirations due to a number of factors. To unleash the entrepreneur I think the key steps are:

An overhaul of the tax system to simplify structure – take away the vast majority of the reliefs and cut the headline rates. The effect will be that businesses will find it harder to avoid paying what is due, at the same time reducing the tax burden to an acceptable level.

Rationalisation of the business support schemes available – create one national start up and growth support programme which is available to all aspiring entrepreneurs, delivered either face to face or online. Overhaul enterprise learning in schools and colleges with a National Curriculum standard at each stage of the education system (delivered at least once a week) for enterprise learning.

Invest heavily in regional road, rail, air, and broadband communications – regional investment, as opposed to major development of projects such as Heathrow 3 and HS2 will have a greater effect on the growth of SMEs and the development of enterprise than any large long term projects.

Three ideas that will not be easy to implement but this should not deter us. To take the opportunities offered by the Brexit vote, we, as a nation, need to be entrepreneurial in our behaviour – take the risk, believe in what we are doing. It will take a brave person to turn these ideas to reality as each will be opposed by vested interests, but the opportunities are out there …. as are the threats if the country slowly sink into recession.

Written by Kevin Horne, Chairman, Cavendish Enterprise

 

A view of the iconic clock tower of the Houses odf Parliament in London.

Celebration of Enterprise fit for a Lord

20th June, 2016 1 Comment


Cavendish Enterprise partners, three entrepreneurial Start & Grow clients, and a room full of guests came together at the House of Lords to celebrate the success achieved by businesses who have benefitted from government funded business support, advice and training.

With the kind permission of Lord Wei of Shoreditch, who is himself an entrepreneur, the guest list of 100 influential and passionate supporters of enterprise heard the start-up journey taken by three Start & Grow clients.

Change Please Seaweed Co_Lynemouth sq Patience sq

Start & Grow entrepreneurs (left to right) : Cemal Ezel (Change Please CIC), Dr Craig Rose, (Seaweed & Co), and Patience Chipaumire-Oyeniran, (Panashe Home Care Services).

Cemal Ezel saw a business opportunity that would also give something back to the community. In Nov 2015 he set up Change Please. With his previous experience of working with a coffee roasting social enterprise company, Cemal saw there was an opportunity to work with homeless people to give them a clear way forward. The company provides barista coffee carts operated by homeless individuals. There are currently 8 coffee carts operating around London and employs 11 homeless individuals. Change Please pays the London Living Wage and arranges housing for its workers. Whilst working with the company, employees can build their skills base and eventually move on in their career. After six months, they are moved into full time employment with one of the organisation’s partners. Cemal’s future plans suggest that up to 50 additional jobs will be created and £500,000 investment secured as he hopes to expand into new regions and potentially other sectors.

Cemal needed advice and guidance on sourcing the appropriate grants and putting together successful applications for future expansion which he received through Start & Grow with Enterprise for London. The programme has also guided Cemal in areas where he needs to employ, such as Operations Manager, looking at job descriptions and employee handbooks. “My advisor has been a sounding board for ideas and challenges.” said Cemal. “I hope that the support will enable me to grow the business in a much more efficient way.”

“I would have been able to start the business because the of the backing from other companies, but the benefits of research and assistance with grants available through the Start & Grow programme will have a positive impact on outcomes.” said Cemal.

Seaweed & Co has launched offering seaweed ingredients for the food and nutrition industries, using high quality seaweed sustainably wild harvested in the Scottish Outer Hebrides. The business has been launched by seaweed expert, Dr Craig Rose, who has lived and worked in the North East since moving from his native Leeds to attend Newcastle University over 15 years ago, and is on track to make seaweed a food of the future thanks to a £25,000 investment from Virgin StartUp, and assistance from TEDCO Business Support through the Start & Grow programme.

Based in North Shields, Seaweed & Co is now looking to capitalise on the growing popularity of seaweed as a ‘superfood’ ingredient, and boost sales within the UK and international food and nutrition industries.

Dr Rose, Managing Director of Seaweed & Co. said: “Although a central ingredient in the diet of Asian countries for millennia, seaweed is a forgotten food in the West, and has only recently been re-discovered for its extraordinary nutritional benefits. I was always aware of the positive impact seaweed can have on health, and as a sustainable natural resource through my training as a marine biologist.”

Seaweed contains all the vitamin groups and minerals, and can be used as a natural flavour enhancer to replace salt in the food manufacturing process. Just even a tiny amount of seaweed packs a strong nutritional punch and research has suggested it can help with weight management, and due to its natural iodine levels, can contribute to normal cognitive function and metabolism.

Dr Rose continues: “The market for seaweed in the UK is still relatively new but thanks to support from high profile figures such as Jamie Oliver, who champions the benefits of adding more seaweed to your diet extensively in his new Superfood TV show, seaweed has huge potential for growth. It is not only the nutritional benefits of seaweed which make it desirable as part of a healthy diet, but it is also presents a valuable alternative to food manufacturers as a natural salt replacement in everyday foods.

“Thanks to investment from Virgin StartUp and the guidance of TEDCO Business Support, we are on track for a successful first year and have three UK distributors on board to sell our product to the food and nutrition industry. Food containing Seaweed & Co sourced seaweed is now stocked in all of the major UK supermarkets.”

The investment has been used to fund a highly innovative system for processing the seaweed in Scotland to produce larger volumes of high quality seaweed through a more gentle and scalable approach . The system, and the factory in which it operates, is one of the most sophisticated seaweed production facilities in the UK.

Seaweed & Co. is also working in partnership with Durham University on a research project to develop sources of seaweed production near Lynemouth. Dr Rose continues: “Our order book is looking strong for the next 12 months and we are currently working to develop more seaweed based products for the health and nutrition industry. However, for now, our focus is on growing our B2B market share as Seaweed & Co.’s accredited quality seaweed gains momentum with food manufacturers and the health supplement industry.”

Patience Chipaumire-Oyeniran has just opened the doors to her very own care agency in Leicester, Panashe Home Care Services, so elderly people can enjoy a high standard of comfortable care in their own homes.

Thanks to NBV Enterprise Solutions, Patience is also running a consultancy to advise budding care home owners on how to start up their own agencies. “NBV have made a real difference to me and I was pleasantly surprised to find them. Without their support, I would have struggled to set up my own business.“ said Patience.

Patience left her native Zimbabwe and came to the UK in 1990, training as a registered nurse and working in care homes before turning her hand to managing them. She has recruited four members of staff and one driver, and has advised seven budding care home owners on how to set up their own agency.

Patience said: “I’m really happy that I can finally make a difference to someone’s life by opening Panashe Home Care Services. I believe people should not have to leave the comfort of their own homes due to old age and neither should they have to change their little ways to fit into the care system. Instead the care system should change its ways to fit with their lives.

“I believe in our motto, ‘there is no place like home’ and I’m proud that I stand by this in everything I do.” said Patience.

With an expert panel on hand comprising David Petrie (ICAEW), Peter Holbrook (SEUK), Nick Underhill (Crowdfunder), Sarah Mintey (Developing Experts), and Peter Ibbetson (JournoLink), guests and entrepreneurs alike were able to access a wealth of start-up advice.

Although the sun didn’t shine across the Thames that day a lot of light was thrown on how to overcome some of the typical hurdles businesses might face on their start-up business journey. A big thank you from Cavendish Enterprise to all those who took part and shared their knowledge and experiences.

Written by Davina Young, Marketing Manager, Cavendish

 

Board Dawn Whiteley - circle

What does the Budget 2016 mean for small businesses?

18th March, 2016 No Comments


Budget briefcase

The 2016 Budget Statement was given yesterday by Chancellor George Osborne. In the statement the Chancellor defines his proposals as “a Budget for small businesses.

The key headlines within the Budget statement are reviewed here by Dawn Whiteley, CEO of National Enterprise Network. NEN is a membership body for enterprise support organisations that support pre start and start-up businesses.

“At NEN, we always look at budget statements in lots of detail, to understand how each and every decision affects the small business sector – a sector we happen to think is the lifeblood of our economy.

Following whisperings recently about changes to business rates, in one of the biggest announcements these were confirmed yesterday. The changes will mean that around 600,000 small businesses will no longer have any business rates to pay. A further 250,000 small businesses will have their rates cuts from April 2017. A significant outgoing for any small business is its overheads and these changes will ensure there is a benefit to be had for many.

Corporation tax is also to be cut from the current rate of 20% to 17% by 2020. This has a clear impact for small business owners, as does the removal of the Class 2 NI contributions for the self-employed.

Fuel costs are something which concern many small businesses so the freeze announced on fuel duty will be welcomed. The Chancellor described this initiative as “the tax boost that keep Britain on the move.” Keeping costs down for a small business is crucial to its sustainability and potential growth.

Budget 2016 infers that Job Centre Plus staff will provide support to self-employed universal credit claimants. If this does evolve any additional support should complement the specialist self-employment support given by enterprise support agencies and other professional bodies.

Britain is blazing a trail, let the rest of the world catch up” said the Chancellor. Start-ups and small businesses are a part of this ‘blazing trail’, with Cavendish Enterprise alone helping in excess of 32,000 potential business owners under just one of its business support contracts.

George Osbourne relayed his confidence in job creation, predicting the creation of a million jobs by 2020. It’s likely that there will be a significant contribution to this total by those classed as small businesses.

It is good to see that the Chancellor has put forward a Budget for 2016 that will have a positive impact on the small business sector. There is still more that can be done to help and support this vibrant sector and we will encourage the government to do all they can to support it too.

Like many others, I will continue to review the Budget as the details emerge over the next few weeks and months to ensure that the benefits that materialise are as suggested in the Budget statement.

We all also need to ensure people feel confident enough to set up these businesses in the first place – which is where the value of the enterprise support sector comes in.”

Written by Dawn Whiteley, CEO, National Enterprise Network

Cavendish Enterprise partners are committed to supporting start-up and growing businesses.  Contact our partners in your region for invaluable business advice and support.

 

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Research reveals government invested £9.8 billion supporting businesses in 2013-14

16th February, 2016 No Comments


A view of the iconic clock tower of the Houses odf Parliament in London.

According to recent research at the Innovation Growth Lab, the British government spent £9.8 billion in 2013-14 supporting its businesses.

The research was undertaken by Teo Firpo and Thomas Beevers following the announced cuts in business support services as part of the Autumn Spending Review, November 2015 – with the BIS (the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) seeing a 17% reduction in their budget.

The research set out to discover how the cuts might affect businesses and innovation in the UK, and crucially, to consider how the government should target the cuts.

Teo and Thomas considered it critical to know how the British government supports its businesses and entrepreneurs, not just through BIS, but across all departments, in order to reach any answers to these questions so the IGL research maps out how much public money goes to businesses and, importantly, through what type of support programmes. The research discovered that business support takes place across government departments identifying six other public bodies with business support programmes, including the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Department for Communities and Local Government, beside tax relief and BIS.

‘How much does the UK spend supporting its businesses?’ can be read in full here.

Summarised by Davina Young @ Cavendish

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