In a speech to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) on Tuesday small business minister Andrew Griffiths unveiled a £8m fund intended to boost SME growth, productivity and performance across England.
The Government’s modern Industrial Strategy and the Business Basics Fund, run by Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee (BEIS) in partnership with Innovate UK, is intended to help support small businesses in adopting proven technologies and management techniques.
Research from the CBI suggests that by encouraging more businesses to take advantage of innovations such as cloud computing, mobile technology and e-purchasing, the UK economy could receive a £100bn boost and see a 5% reduction in income inequality.
Small business minister Andrew Griffiths said: “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, with more than 1,000 new businesses starting up every day, and it is vital that we support them to grow through our modern Industrial Strategy.
“The Business Basics Fund will test new and innovative ways of supporting small businesses to take advantage of technologies and management practices – giving small business leaders the tools and support they need to continue to thrive.”
Matthew Fell, CBI UK Chief Policy Director, said: “UK businesses must do more to improve their productivity to get themselves match fit to compete globally in the years ahead. Low uptake of the nuts and bolts technologies of today is a key feature of the productivity puzzle that can, and must, be tackled.
“UK business technology adoption levels are close to the EU average but far behind the front runners. The new Industrial Strategy can be the perfect vehicle to get to grips with this missing piece of the jigsaw.”
The launch of the fund for SME growth is the latest in a number of measures introduced by the Government with the intention of boosting business productivity, including a review launched last month on how best to raise business productivity.
In 2017 Be the Business, an industry-led initiative backed by Government, was launched to help businesses across the UK benchmark their current level of productivity, access advice and utilise smart management training.
Earlier this month the UK Finance and the Lending Standards Board (LSB) established a working group to examine fairness of SME lending contracts.