Tuesday, 25 September 2012

‘Give us something we can use!’

Angel asks: Will business bank work for microbusinesses?

Samantha Acton, Domestic Angels
The owner of a Dorset micro business who challenged Vince Cable to work in the interests of micro businesses has warned the business secretary that his new ‘business bank’ may not be of much use to Britain’s smallest businesses.

Dr Cable has announced £1 billion of government money to fund a new bank with a clean slate to “get behind” good businesses and be lending money within 18 months. He hopes the state funding will be matched by private sector investment.

But micro business champion Samantha Acton of Southbourne-based Domestic Angels home help service says he has missed the point.

“Micro businesses that employ fewer than five people make up 95 per cent of Dorset businesses and we are distinct from SMEs, with our own problems, concerns and difficulties,” she says.

“My main concern is that the plan is to lend to SMEs, but will this include microbusinesses? We are a nation of shopkeepers and micro businesses are big business, but don’t necessarily fall into the SME definition.

“All I’m asking for is something that’s of genuine use to the smallest businesses. The last thing any of us needs is to increase our debt burden with new bank loans – no matter how easy they are to get,” she adds.

“If Vince Cable really wants to help the majority of Dorset businesses it would be far more useful to increase the VAT threshold and take a more imaginative, real-world attitude to the National Minimum Wage.

“He says we must get behind successful British-based firms in vehicles, aerospace, life sciences and the creative industries, as well as our world-class scientists and universities, but none of these sound like micro businesses.”

As published on seekernews.co.uk

Monday, 24 September 2012

Cable quizzed on small business experience

Domestic Angel tackles minister at breakfast meeting
Entrepreneurs from across the Wessex region are continuing to contact a Southbourne businesswoman who questioned government minister Vince Cable about his credibility to advise microbusiness owners.
Samantha Acton, who runs Domestic Angels home help service, tackled the business secretary at a breakfast meeting for small business owners organised by WSX Enterprise over to his lack of experience of running a business with fewer than five employees.
“Microbusinesses account for 95 per cent of the businesses in Dorset and yet government ministers and the people that run business organisations have little or no actual experience of them,” says Samantha.
“Dr Cable didn’t try to hide that fact, but then reverted to a pat answer about approaching banks for funding and cutting red tape.
“If he bothered to find out about what it’s really like to run a business at this level he would be trying to do things that can really make a difference, such as raising the VAT threshold.”
Samantha gave Dr Cable a pen which he promised to use for the rest of the month to remind him to consider microbusinesses in his policy meetings.
“Nothing I’ve seen or heard from him since makes me think he has kept that promise, but our exchange of words has certainly struck a chord across the area and I’ve had a string of messages of support.”
Heather Martyn, a director at Bournemouth-based electronic design company Ammtek, echoes Samantha’s message to the minister.
“Some of these microbusinesses are our future SMEs or, eventually, large organisations and our Government needs to be able to offer incentives to these microbusinesses to become employers and to grow sustainably,” she says.
“Apprenticeships are a good start but don’t solve all issues. I welcome further communication with Dr Cable and his department on this subject.”