Dragons’ Den Entrepreneur Doug Richard Wants To Replace Business Link
By Claire West
The Conservative Party’s Small Business Task Force, chaired by the Dragons' Den judge, Doug Richard, has set out innovative proposals to overhaul the business support system.
Doug, a serial entrepreneur, described the current system, which involves over 3,000 different schemes run by 2,000 public bodies and their contractors, as "confusing and out of control".
Around two-thirds of the £2.5 billion spent on the system goes on telling companies where to find advice.
Doug laid out a number of recommendations to improve the support given to businesses, including:
- Creating a single, national, web-based Business Information System
- Improving access to finance for SME's
- Helping small businesses secure more Government contracts
- Overhauling enterprise education in schools.
Doug said, "These recommendations would enable the UK to once again...
...become one of the best places in the world to do business."
The report also further proposed that the Conservative Party should consult with other providers of capital such as hedge funds, VCTs and individuals to determine structures that could expand the pool and flexibility of small business loan provision and encourage these suppliers of capital to enter the Small Firm Loan Guarantee (SFLG) process.
Commenting on the report, released today, David Frost, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said:
"The current system of business support is beset by waste and duplication. This is a source of massive frustration for business and it is encouraging that the Richard report suggests proposals to tackle the issue.
"The Government's simplification programme aims to cut the number of support schemes from 3000 to 100 by 2010 and this will require a strong commitment at a central, regional and local level to achieve the step change in support that is required.
"Today's report correctly identifies the importance of effective business representation; products that are based on business experiences and needs; and objective auditing processes. However, it is important that these changes do not disrupt the schemes businesses are currently accessing. The baby must not be thrown out with the bath water so that schemes that businesses do value, such as the Small Firms Loans Guarantee and the Manufacturing Advisory Service, are not lost."
Click here to see an interview of Doug Richard talking about the essential attributes of successful entrepreneurs and what skills are needed to complement them in building a
business that lasts.