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New government measures aim to make it easier for UK small firms

By: William Hobson
08 November 2010

A series of measures recently unveiled by the government aim to make it easier to start your own business and for small firms to do business in the UK, reports BBC News.

Announced at a summit attended by Business Secretary Vince Cable, Business Minister Mark Prisk, Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude and new enterprise tsar Lord Young, the measures focus on improving access to finance and making it easier for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to take work from the public sector.

"As a former small business owner I know how important our SMEs are to the growth of this country," said Mr Prisk. "I entered government with the goal of making this the most entrepreneurial decade in our history and I'm confident that today's announcements will make that a reality."

Plans to help small firms win public sector contracts could lead to greater opportunities for UK franchising in areas such as logistics work and other vital services. The government has said it aims to remove any qualification barriers that prevent small firms from accessing government work, as well as introducing a requirement for all government contractors to pay suppliers within 30 days.

In addition, The Daily Mail reports that the Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) scheme is to be extended for an additional four years. Ministers say this will allow 6,000 SMEs to get financial support per year by making some £2bn available to viable small firms without credit history or collateral.

The government has also committed an extra £200m to Enterprise Capital Funds - which allow businesses to sell debt in exchange for a stake of their business - and ministers say they will be holding talks with banks about drafting a new lending code. Finally, it has also announced that it means to "tackle the misconception that social tenants cannot start up a business," opening certain UK franchise opportunities to those in social housing.

Speaking in the Daily Mail, Prime Minister David Cameron said he sought to create a "new economic dynamism" for the UK.

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