By Jill Barnes, Chief Executive, Exemplas Ltd.
Calling small businesses the lifeblood of our economy might sound like a cliché.
But it’s absolutely true. Just look at the figures: 99.3% of all UK private sector firms; over 15 million employees; and a combined turnover of more than £1.6 trillion.
So I’d actually go further, and call SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) the lifeblood of the entire nation.
Supporting our most valuable assets
It’s the constant flow of successful new businesses, innovating, growing, creating employment, driving consumer spending and supporting public services, which supports many of the most valuable features of everyday life that we take for granted. From features like funding for health and education, wide-ranging local government services and support for transport to the environment and more.
That’s why Exemplas is so passionate about the UK’s SME sector. It’s not all about cold, hard figures. It’s about real life, for every one of us, every day.
So it’s a fundamental concern today that there is so little help specifically aimed at helping new businesses start up, grow and become fully established and sustainable. Ever since the Government’s regional support service ceased some years ago as part of the austerity squeeze, it’s become increasingly difficult for business owners to find the support they need.
Such support is desperately needed. That’s because people who start and run small organisations tend to ‘default’ to the skillsets with which they’re most comfortable, often leaving resource and expertise gaps in important areas like marketing, finance, the Law, property and recruitment.
They also have little will or desire to buy in professional services except when the need is desperate (by which time it may be too late).
Aiming for radical improvement
We know from research and well over two decades spent working with SMEs that access to free or subsidised expertise and specialist advice would radically improve the success, survival and growth rates of the UK’s start-up and small businesses.
And that’s why we at Exemplas are now unveiling our new mission. To work in partnership with other expert organisations to create a fully joined-up national resource through which small businesses can quickly, easily and cost-effectively identify, access and harness the expert support they need.
It’s something we passionately believe in. We’re very excited about it. And we’re confident that it will make a massive difference to the prospects of thousands of small businesses.
We’re making excellent progress, and already have strong relationships in place with some outstanding partners. I’ll be regularly reporting on how we’re doing over the weeks to come. So please keep visiting our site – we’d greatly value your feedback and input as our mission gains momentum.