By Max Clarke

Lucy Armstrong, a leading member of the CBI's (Confederation of British Industry) SME Council since 2009, has today been appointed as its Chair. She will be a prominent voice in Westminster and Brussels at a critical time for small and medium-sized businesses, and will lead the activities of the Council.

Lucy is Chief Executive of The Alchemists, an organisation which matches experienced and successful entrepreneurs with high growth businesses to accelerate their expansion and success. She is also a key member of the CBI Northeast Regional Council since January 2007.

The SME Council will focus on policy to drive expansion and job creation in small and medium-sized companies at a time when the UK economic recovery depends on crucial private sector growth. It will also act to improve access to finance and export trade.

John Cridland, CBI Director-General-Designate, said:

“I am delighted to welcome Lucy as Chair of the CBI SME Council; she will bring a wealth of valuable experience to the role.

“With the UK’s 4.8 million SMEs providing 60 per cent of private sector jobs and accounting for half of all private sector turnover, we have much to do to help these companies achieve their full growth potential.”

Lucy Armstrong said:

“SMEs are entrepreneurial and innovative companies and are therefore a key source of growth and a driver for jobs in the UK. We know that the recovery of the economy must come predominantly from SMEs given public spending cuts and the limited scope for major expansion of the large corporate sector.

“My priority is to press for conditions in which SMEs can thrive. I am determined to make sure that politicians and civil servants understand the impact of their policies and legislation on SMEs and their employees. I will focus on driving the overall growth of businesses in this sector, and particularly on improving access to finance and export trade.”

Lucy takes over from Professor Russel Griggs OBE, who has led the SME Council for the past three years.