Will the Con / Lib coalition help SMEs?
Posted by Paul Allen on 16th August 2010 / 0 comments
Last night I attended the Post Mission Event at the London Stock Exchange. Attendees from WebMission 09, WebMission 09 and Clean and Cool Mission 10 gathered to share experiences and listen to Mark Prisk, the new Minister of State for Business and Enterprise talk about innovation and enterprise.
The missions, run by Polecat in collaboration with the Technology Strategy Board, UK Trade & Investment and others have been a huge success in helping UK start-ups sign deals, raise awareness and secure funding. The WebMissions have achieved $36m in funds (with more on the way) and the Clean and Cool Mission 10 has three investment runs close to completion and it only took place in February this year.
But what of Mark Prisk? Well, he’s not long in the job and a long-standing supporter of the missions so I’ll cut him some slack. But he does have the politician’s knack of talking a great deal but saying very little - is there a finishing school that MPs from all parties are required to attend!?
He spoke about the need to embed enterprise within education more effectively than it has been previously, and more training for self-employed businesses. There was also a very PR-sounding initiative involving civil servants working in SMEs for a week to better understand their concerns and some generic thoughts on reducing red tape to make it easier for businesses to trade.
So despite not saying much of real substance, Mark did speak engagingly, took questions from the audience and certainly showed commitment to the missions. With three further missions planned - WebMission 11, Future Health Mission and Clean and Cool Mission 12 - government backing is important as I have seen firsthand the positive impact they can have on a business.
So the jury is still out on the long-term ability of the coalition to support SMEs, but Mark Prisk’s support for the missions is a good start for now.