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I’m going to use this blog to share my thoughts on the goings on in the world of small businesses. To kick off, I’m starting a regular series on entrepreneur-related stories I’ve spotted.
A new small business minister?
It was a hectic day in Downing Street yesterday with the prime minister’s reshuffle and the shock resignation of chancellor Sajid Javid.
But while the big appointments made the headlines, it’s a smaller role that interests me; that of the small business minister.
I kept an eye on social media last night and discovered that Kelly Tolhurst, who was appointed to the role in 2018, has moved to the Department for Transport.
That left an opening for a new appointment and it appears the role has gone to Sutton MP Paul Scully.
The Department for Business website has yet to confirm his responsibilities but he liked my tweet below which suggests he has the role.
As I mentioned in the tweet, Scully is from an entrepreneurial background having co-founded lobbying firm Nudge Factory in 2011.
It’s always good to see a small business minister that has been there and done it when it comes to entrepreneurship. He also seems to be very responsive to comments on Twitter which means small businesses have easy access to the minister.
But the proof is in the pudding of course so let’s hope he’s an active participant in the UK’s small business community and we see some positive moves. I hope to meet him soon.
If you’ve any thoughts on what you think he should focus on, let me know in the comments.
UPDATE: Paul has offered to meet me so watch this space!
Britain’s problem with female founder funding
Beauhurst always produces brilliant reports on business funding and the latest came out this week. It’s well a worth a look.
Included in it are some shocking figures about equity funding to female entrepreneurs. I’ve summarised them in the tweets below.
This is an issue that’s clearly proving very tricky to solve. There are many initiatives out there to boost the amount of money going to women founders but much more needs to be done.
It needs more than a few schemes. There appears to be a deep rooted bias against females among some investors. That needs to change.
An invoice paid 223 days late!
In my 18 years of writing about small businesses, late payment has consistently been an issue. Like the problem with funding to female founders, there’s a cultural change that needs to happen.
That was made fully clear this week with the latest report from the Small Business Commissioner who is tasked by the government with tackling late payment.
It’s the first naming and shaming report from the new Commissioner Philip King, who was appointed in an interim role after the departure of Paul Uppal. You can listen to an interesting podcast I recorded with Uppal here.
The new report is an investigation into the massive multinational transportation company Bombardier. A business owner complained to the Commissioner after struggling to get invoices of £5,600.24 paid.
After King intervened, the payments were received but one was 223 days late! I’ve heard of some long delays but that’s the longest ever.
It’s good that companies paying this late are being called out but we clearly have a long way to go to resolve the problem.
There have been many calls for the Small Business Commissioner to be given the power to fine tardy payers and that’s currently up for consultation. Let’s hope we get an update in the Budget on 11 March.