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Business Births and Deaths
3 Feb 2011
Business Births and Deaths
With more businesses dying on their feet than thriving, Phil Cooper, Chief Executive of Venture
The business community will be shaken by recent news that more firms are going bust than are being set up in the
This casts a long shadow on the future of many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the
These figures confirm that SMEs across
There are many challenges being face by small businesses in
Indeed new start ups and strong expansion of existing small firms will be the life’s blood of economic progress and net jobs growth in the short and medium-term.
Consequently there’s a real need to encourage innovative start ups and nurture existing enterprises. But if businesses are dying is it time to think about how we can support these troubled companies and protect and safeguard the jobs they offer.
There is specific mention in WAG’s Economic Renewal Programme of protecting start ups, but we also need to ensure that we’re also supporting businesses that provide high economic impact.
However, WAG’s policy to focus support for existing firms only on firms in six sectors penalises the excellent firms in other sectors of the economy which have proven job creation capabilities. In de-prioritising support for firms outside the chosen sectors, the Assembly could be harming rather than helping businesses who might already be struggling and risking any employment-creating prospects.
Growing SMEs need to have access to both low and highly skilled workers. They also have a healthy appetite for cash and need the ability to be able to borrow in order to fund development. Unfortunately both skills and investment are in short supply. Innovation is critical for the future development and competitiveness of growth firms but
Productivity also requires investment, and the repayable grant system to support research and development and capital investment simply does not work on pre-revenue innovative projects. The closure of our international division is also a worrying sign when growth firms need to look outside the
One way to help small businesses is to reduce the red tape and bureaucracy. Entrepreneurs tend to favour approaches that are high on innovation and low on bureaucracy. But, what will really help SMEs is a joined up approach from both public and private sectors. By working closer together both parties could capture the enormous goodwill of those who want
While supporting existing firms, we must also continue to encourage new businesses and therefore reverse the ongoing decline in start ups we’ve seen since 2004. Simple steps such as the resurrection of the Entrepreneurship Action Plan to create greater awareness of the opportunities and benefits of entrepreneurship to encourage more people to start and grow a business and to develop a greater entrepreneurial culture in
What is comforting is that businesses in
The face of business support in
Let’s learn from the most recent business births and deaths figures and let’s more forward, focusing on turning the tide and reviving the future prospects for SMEs in