2013 on course to better number of UK start-ups born last year

The number of new start-up businesses born this year in the UK is on course to better those created in the previous 12 months, according to data from the Startup Britain Tracker.

As of April 18, the tracker shows that 150,240 start-up businesses have been born in the UK, providing unique   insight into the growing self-starter trend. With only a third of the year gone, if the figures correlate over the remainder of the year the country should welcome more new firms than throughout the course of 2012.

Figures from the tracker show 424,161 start-ups were born in 2012 and the nation is on course for around 450,000 this year.

The tracker, created using data from Companies House and interpreted by the Made Simple Group, indicates there is growing optimism for the start-up sector.

Howard Graham, founder of the Made Simple Group, said: “These stats are very telling about the optimism and momentum within the start-up sector.

“The Startup Tracker makes this visible for all to see and plot the highs and lows as well as potentially making it possible for us to discover what makes certain days more attractive for setting up a business.”

Since the turn of the Millennium the number of SMEs in the UK increased from 3.5 million to 4.8 million in 2012 – a 38.7 per cent growth of the sector.

Tech start-ups in particular are certainly at the forefront of growth in the SME sector, particularly in the capital. It is estimated there are 3,000 tech companies in East London alone, employing upwards of 50,000 people.

That figure alone generates significant demand for office space in the London area. Workspace is one of London’s largest suppliers of commercial property and is increasingly providing SMEs with the space and facilities needed to grow.

Many office space providers are also now offering the flexibility of premises on a short term let, for as little as one month. In the current economic climate this can be a godsend for businesses wishing to expand without tying themselves down financially in the long term.


A Guide to the London Olympics 2012 for Corporate visitors

Astons ApartmentsOne of the greatest events in the world will be coming to London in a matter of weeks and anticipation for our great British athletes is starting to build momentum. The Olympics is soon approaching and many of the tickets have been distributed and with special packages for the corporate visitor, hospitality is sure to be at its finest. If you will be attending the London Olympic Games with a privilege corporate hospitality ticket, below you will find all the information you’ll need about the services included and if staying for an extensive period of time, the best places to stay.

There is a prestige package for many events including:

•    Opening and Closing Ceremonies
•    Athletics, Basketball Preliminaries, Track Cycling, Diving, Handball, Hockey, Swimming, Water Polo Basketball Finals, Beach Volleyball, Canoe Sprint, Equestrian, Gymnastics, Modern Pentathlon, Rowing, Tennis

In each of the packages you will receive:

•    Exceptional service
•    Fine dining
•    The best category seats for each event
•    Exclusive hospitality in the Olympic venues

There truly is no better way to see the Olympic events and watch as talented athlete’s race, swim, cycle and row for the gold medal. Some packages do combine accommodation with the tickets, but if you are still searching for the ideal place to stay during the Olympic Games, we here at Business News Wire have selected some of London’s best shirt term let apartments.

Booking apartments is a cost effective way for the business traveller to stay in London as it allows for a group to stay in one place for one price. Not only will you be provided with an affordable price, but also the comfortable surroundings of an apartment, rather than that of a single room. Fully fitted kitchens, living areas and multiple rooms are provided allowing visitors to cook their own meals if wanted and relax in the comforts of home away from home.

Refresh Accommodation supply a vast range of short stay apartments for all London visitors with their dedicated corporate range of accommodation found at Refresh Corporate.

Our recommended apartments for the corporate visitor for the London Olympic Games include:

Astons Apartments•    Astons Apartments, South Kensington

Situated in the quiet residential area of Kensington and Chelsea, Astons Apartments provides an excellent location for great transport links. This is a great location to stay if you wish to remove yourself from the hustle and bustle of the Olympics during the evenings.

•     Stratford Bellhaven, Docklands

The attractively priced Stratford Bellhaven apartments have been developed especially to meet the demand for quality accommodation close to the Olympic Stadium.

•    43-45 Gower Street, Bloomsbury

A range of one, two, three and four bedroom apartments are offered at 43-45 Gower Street, situated within walking distance of many transportation links including Euston, Russell Square and Holborn.

With all this information you’re sure to make your stay in London during the Olympics an unforgettable experience.


SME Support Directory

A new online directory, the Enterprise Europe Network’s Info2Innovate has been launched working alongside the Dublin Chamber of Commerce and Enterprise Ireland. It is aimed at SMEs and includes 460 supports and services in a number of sectors including financing innovation, training, innovation infrastructure, networks and advisory.

Innovation is certainly the name of the game and one that will potentially promote business growth in Ireland.

The new directory for innovation supports and services has been launched by John Perry, T.D., Minister of Small Businesses. Speaking at the launch the Minister said: “There are some 200,000 companies in Ireland employing less than 50 people. They might be small in size but together they contribute over €10 billion to the Exchequer annually and employ over 650,000 people. Despite the challenges they face, SMEs are playing a vital role in the recovery and sustained growth of Ireland’s economy and we must ensure we continue to provide them with support. Therefore, I am delighted to be associated with the launch of such a valuable resource for the SME sector and I congratulate the Enterprise Europe Network and their partners for the work they have put in to the development of the Info2Innovate directory.”

The Enterprise Europe Network – Ireland is an amalgamation of business organisations that provide Irish SMEs business support and advice on European funding opportunities and legislation.

For Further Information: Minister Perry Launches SME Support Directory


Business Confidence in the West Midlands Grows

New research has shown that three advanced services have led the way to growth in the West Midlands. Marketing Birmingham Regional Observatory and the Greater Birmingham and Solihull local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) have discovered through their study that advanced manufacturing, engineering and business and financial services have experienced the biggest growth among West Midland small businesses.

However, on the other side of the spectrum retail, tourism, hospitality and construction have been struggling with no signs of employment or turnover growth showing.

Nearly 2,000 businesses across the GBSLEP area took part in the survey between December 2011 and March 2012 and has shown that overall business confidence is returning to Birmingham, Black Country and Solihull’s SMEs.

Neil Rami, chief executive of Marketing Birmingham, said: “Our findings indicate that the local business community could be looking more confidently to the future and are ready to explore opportunities to develop their operations.

“SMEs in some of the region’s strongest sectors benefit greatly from the supply chains of the major companies that have invested here.

“Jaguar Land Rover is but one example of a global investor that has brought local business significant growth opportunities.”

Other areas that the survey touched upon is the growth of the area’s SMEs over the last 12 months and the expectations for future growth.

  • More than half of the surveyed SMEs have experienced growth in the last three years
  • Two thirds have maintained or increased their business’ turnover – 40% in the last 12 months
  • 23% experienced a decrease in turnover
  • More than a fifth are considered to be experiencing ‘high growth’

Although the outlook may seem positive, there are many challenges that these SMEs face regarding the access to finance and opportunities required to continue growing.

Chris Loughran, senior partner at Deloitte Midlands, said: “SMEs across the GBSLEP and Black Country area are fighting hard to grow and boost employment, but are still restricted by a lack of available finance.

“As credit remains difficult to access, it is crucial for these businesses to watch their costs closely to maintain the right level of working capital and identify the areas where investing that money will make a real difference to driving product demand – be it research and development, training the sales team or promoting the business to new customers.

“Investing can often ease the road to growth.”

For Further reading: Manufacturers lead growth among West Midlands small firms


"Simplify the landscape for suppliers" Whitehall

Before retiring this week, Chris Chant, the G-Cloud Programme chief is calling out to Whitehall to simplify the procurement process for SMEs. Ideally, Mr Chant wants to avoid any chance for a situation to rise where 80% of IT contracts are controlled by just six companies. Although he believe some progress has been made there still remains a lot of challenging tasks that need to be implemented for any change to have an effect.

According to Chant there were originally a lot of restrictions that often made it difficult to “talk between government departments about one organisation's contracts with another".  However, there are still many concerns over the government outsourcing "all sorts of things which we should never have", including public sector organisations outsourcing work to produce IT strategies that have left the government "completely inflexible". 

Chant, who will be handing over his G-Cloud responsibilities to Denise McDonagh this week, has advised on countless occasions that G-Cloud can provide SMEs with a simplified route to procurement.

G-Cloud is a procurement initiative that is ‘SME friendly’ and has created an online store where public sector bodies can source and buy thousand of services from a vast range of suppliers.

The programme could offer SMEs a welcoming alternative to Chant stating it to be the "easiest and cheapest route into procurement if you are a smaller company". 

Since its inception in February 30 organisations have made purchases from the programme, with purchases valuing from anything between a few hundred pounds up to more than £1 million.

In May, when the second, more user-friendly version of CloudStore launches, users will be able to comment on services included in the catalogue.

For Further Reading: UK Governance: Call for Whitehall to simplify the landscape for SME suppliers to win more government contracts