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Government Launches Business Growth Package for SMEs

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14 November 2011

A series of new measures to help Britain's small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) grow and create jobs, export to new markets, secure finance and cut red tape has been launched by the Prime Minister.The measures include a £95 million investment from the Regional Growth Fund to benefit hundreds of small businesses. The funding will support SMEs considering investing in new capital assets and is expected to create at least 4,000 jobs and unlock around £500 million of new investment.

The Government is also teaming up with founding Dragons' Den panellist Doug Richard and Yell to get 3,500 businesses into workshops all over the country to ensure they are able to exploit the global opportunities offered by the internet.

There is also a series of commitments from banks and business advisers to fuel business growth, including: Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) partnering with Barclays to provide free finance advice for SMEs; Lloyds launching a network of export mentors and Santander organising trade missions to Brazil.

The Prime Minister announced the business growth package at the 'Exporting for Growth' conference at the London Imax. The conference brought together SMEs, banks, business advisers and trade bodies to encourage more businesses to export, and ensure that they have the finance they need to grow.The Government announced that:

- £95 million of Regional Growth Fund money has been allocated for SMEs who can't access commercial funding. This is being directed to small businesses through RBS, Natwest and HSBC - and it is expected to unlock a further £500 million of investment. The fund uses the high street banks to provide finance for SMEs seeking to purchase assets and create employment, which are unable to secure commercial funding for their project;

- From April 1st 'one-click registration' will go live, so that businesses can get online, register their business at Companies House, sign up for PAYE registration, Corporation Tax and Self Assessment all in one place. The ability to register for VAT will be added shortly after;

- Launching the Web Fuelled Business initiative - the Department for Business is teaming up with founding Dragons' Den panellist Doug Richard and Yell to get 3,500 businesses into workshops all over the country to ensure they are able to exploit the global opportunities offered by the internet;

- Launching the National Export Challenge; a series of initiatives to give SMEs the knowledge they need to make the first steps to breaking into new markets. The national challenge will get business intermediaries to provide sector knowledge and support for SMEs;

- Launching the 'Open to Export' web resource providing small businesses with professional export advice, hosted by Yell to allow UK firms to swap information and experiences directly;

- Launching a new campaign promoting different sources of finance to SMEs and giving them the tools and advice to access the finance they need, including advice and best-practice guidance for SMEs and a new Finance Finder tool on the BusinessLink website;

- A new UKTI prize for the best export idea. This prize will run regionally and nationally;

- A new "how to" export guide which professional services companies can use with their own branding to issue in branches, to memberships and customers;

- Promoting British business to the many journalists and international business people passing through London during the Olympic Games by establishing the new British Business Embassy, based at Lancaster House. It is estimated this will achieve £700m in export sales as a result of games-time activity; and

- To support the growth of businesses in Tech City the Prime Minister announced the expansion of the Red Tape Challenge so that entrepreneurs and investors can tell the Government where rules and regulations get in the way of innovation.

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