May has seen some absolutely fabulous developments for the small business community, as SMEs go from strength to strength across a variety of industries. The growth in the sector has also prompted calls for better financial backing from banks and more support from the government, demonstrating the crucial role startups and SMEs are playing in the economic recovery.
Small businesses expect a hiring spree
Small business bosses are almost five times more likely to be taking on new employees in the next quarter than larger business, according to figures released by the CIPD earlier in the month. Although this is marvellous news for SMEs, the CIPD warn that growth must not take precedence over maintaining company culture and sticking to a clear set of values.
Other figures released this month at the CIPD’s annual HR in SMEs conference in London, show that having a clear purpose and values is key to the success of SMEs. 77% of small business decision makers agreed with this statement.
Call for stronger support for growing SMEs
The government should rethink how they support growing small businesses in order to address their specific needs, the Management Consultancies Agency has suggested.
The think tank said that if support was targeted to individual companies, the government could identify those looking to expand greatly in order to understand those SMEs with a “strong appetite for driving their business forward”. The MCA director, Paul Connolly, said this shift in focus is crucial for stimulating more robust growth amongst small and medium enterprise.
£1bn boost for SMEs
Balfour Beatty, a multinational infrastructure group, has announced they will be spending £1 billion on SME contracts this year. The investment hopes to support 50,000 new jobs and is the largest amount ever spent by a UK construction company. If successful, it will bring the number of SME jobs in the supply chain up to 200,000.
Matthew Fell, the CBI Director for Competitive Markets, said, “Small, medium and large businesses work closely together day-in-day-out across the UK economy to create jobs and drive growth. And Balfour Beatty’s record investment is an excellent example of the importance to big companies of nurturing and supporting strong supply chains within their industries.”
Get behind the self-employed, Osborne!
This month saw the local and European elections with some disappointing results (but that’s for a different rant). In the run-up to the elections, freelancing support body PCG called on policymakers to ‘unlock the potential’ of the fast growing self-employed sector and get behind freelancers and SMEs.
By supporting self-employment locally, councillors can help boost business in their constituencies at a time when they need it most. PCG suggests many ways in which this goal can be achieved, including turning unused council properties into community work spaces and improving local connectivity.
Small businesses going it alone
Only a third of businesses have been seeking out external finance in the first quarter of this year, which makes the lowest level ever recorded. The news comes as part of the SME Finance Monitor quarterly report.
There has been a decrease in sole traders seeking loans, overdrafts and credit cards this year and more companies are now doing without any kind of finance at all. 48% are said to be ‘permanent non-borrowers’, a figure that has gone up from 41% in the same quarter last year. However, it is vital for small businesses to take advantage of the opportunities presented to them. More needs to be done to increase trust in financial institutions, the chief executive of the Forum of Private Business said.
Cheers Sophie and look forward to reading your June overview at the start of next month...
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