engage magazine issue 001 spring \'06 - Page 12

12 NEWS FOCUS News Research into African Caribbean businesses Researchers from the Business School at Loughborough University Black Enterprise in conjunction with Black Enterprise website will be publishing the findings of a three-year research project looking at African Caribbean business in the United Kingdom on 31 August 2006. The project has been funded by the European Social Fund. For further information visit www. blackenterprise.co.uk. DTI to play major role in streamlining of business support The Department of Trade and Industry is leading a government-wide initiative to streamline business support at a local, regional and national level. The initiative aims to reduce the number of schemes from more than 3,000 to 100 by 2010. The work will be done in partnership with the Regional Development Agencies, other government departments and local bodies. The move was announced in the recent Budget and Cobra Beer - ‘one of the best small companies to work for’ Cobra Beer, the Indian Beer Company, has been named as one of The Sunday Times’ 100 Best Small Companies to work for in Great Britain. It was placed 35th in the 2006 annual listing. Founded in 1989 by Karan Bilimoria, around 91% of Cobra employees claim to have fun while working and 89% are proud to work for the company, putting Cobra in eighth and ninth place respectively in these areas. In addition, 93% of staff profiled said they are excited about where the company is going, meaning Cobra was third in this category. This is the third consecutive year Cobra has leads on from the success of the DTI’s own business support simplification which streamlined its own business support products from 150 to eight, each specifically tailored to meet customers’ needs. The eight business support schemes that the DTI offers which are tailored to meet specific needs include The Small Firms Loan Guarantee, which helps more than 6000 small firms every year to raise finance; Knowledge Transfer Partnership, where more than 1300 partnerships have been established since its launch in 2003; and Collaborative Research and Development, which has invested more than £250m to support over 350 projects in emerging technology areas. been listed in the top 100 Small-to-Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Cobra was in the top 10 of no fewer than five of the categories companies are assessed on. The Best Companies final listings were based on the responses of 19,803 employees from SMEs all over the country. This year the number of companies participating grew by over 50%. To find out more about Best Companies visit www. bestcompanies.co.uk. Small businesses miss ing out on IT opportunities A study, commissioned by Lincolnshire County Council (LCC), reports that 800,000 of the UK’s 3.7 million small businesses have missed out on business opportunities because of inadequate information about IT. The report suggests that although businesses are aware of the benefits of IT, many do not have the right knowledge and support to use it effectively. More than a fifth of respondents said that they have missed out on a business opportunity because they did not have the right IT. Also, 53% agreed with the statement that ‘small businesses do not have the access to IT knowledge and support that larger businesses do, and this can hinder business development’. Only 25% of firms said that knew what advanced broadband is and how it could benefit their business. engage SPRING ISSUE 2006