Clearview South August 2013 - Issue 141 - Page 69

BUSINESS £100M TO SUPPORT BUSINESS GOES NATIONAL A partnership that brings together promising businesses and successful entrepreneurs along with government and private sector investment has been extended across the UK, Business Minister Michael Fallon has announced. The Angel CoFund invests amounts of £100,000 to £1 million into SMES with high growth potential, working in partnership with syndicates of experienced business angels to help companies fulfil their promise. As well as providing funding for ambitious small firms, the fund is using government backing to encourage the expansion of the business angel culture. The Minister said: “Thanks to their hardwon experience in business, business angels can be savvier than banks at spotting winners. By reinforcing their commitment with government support, the CoFund will support the most promising and entrepreneurial businesses, giving growth and jobs a kick-start. “To date the fund has only been available to businesses in certain areas due to being funded from the Regional Growth Fund; but from today firms throughout the UK will be eligible for support. George Whitehead, non-Executive Chairman of the Angel CoFund, added: “We want to support and improve angel investing in the UK; and we want to get cash to good companies that can use the money to really scale their businesses. We are the most active fund in the country and the largest of its type in the World, and we are delighted to be able to support entrepreneurs across the UK in this way.” insolvency processes to be removed Proposals that could save creditors over £36m a year by cutting needless processes during insolvency proceedings have been announced in a consultation document published by Business Minister Jo Swinson. The proposals cut out unnecessary red tape without removing important protections for creditors, and include modernising the way in which insolvency practitioners (IPs) communicate with creditors. The measures contained in the consultation document also include: • reducing the number of physical meetings of creditors (which are often poorly attended) by only requiring one where the office-holder thinks it necessary or where at least 10 per cent of creditors ask for one; • reducing the role of the courts for consensual creditor petitions (where judicial input is not needed); • using more electronic communication with creditors, with links to website information; • reducing the need to seek prior approval of creditors for certain actions clearly in their interest; • abolishing unnecessary IP record keeping requirements; • allowing office-holders to rely on the insolvent’s records when paying small claims, reducing the need for creditors to complete claim forms; • reducing costs by providing that where the cost of making a very small dividend payment exceeds a minimum amount, it is not made but instead should be used for wider benefit of creditors; and • streamlining and modernising the process by which IPs report to the Secretary of State on the conduct of directors of insolvent companies. SMEs in vulnerable cities could be unforseen casualities of austerity New data shows that SMEs in our most vulnerable cities could be unforeseen casualties of austerity Small Business Outlook 2013, published today by Centre for Cities and supported by global insurer Zurich, shows that the health of the local market is one of the most important factors in determining the success of SMEs. Almost two thirds of SMEs in some cities remain reliant on trading with customers in their local market. Because the effects of the recession and austerity measures will be felt differently in different cities, some SMEs are likely to be more vulnerable to changes in their local market brought on by job losses, welfare cuts and constrained wages than others. SMEs in Cambridge, Crawley and Reading are likely to be best insulated against further cuts, while SMEs in Hull, Liverpool and Blackpool may feel the effects of their ‘challenges ahead’ customers spending less money in their local economy far sooner and far stronger. Alexandra Jones, Chief Executive of Centre for Cities said: “Small and medium size d businesses are the lifeblood of the UK’s economy but Small Business Outlook flags that many have been particularly affected by the impact of the recession on their local economies. They will face challenges ahead as further austerity measures have a knock on effect on local demand for their services. “High quality, evidence based Local Growth Plans will be critical to helping UK cities navigate the bumpy road of recovery, while support from national organisations such as UKTI, as well as local partners will be vital to helping SMEs diversify their customer base and even move into exports.” The consultation document can be found at Consultations. To read more, visit AUG 2013 69