By Claire West

Dragon James Caan breaths fire for Small and Medium Businesses (SMEs)

TV’s James Caan, investor on BBC’s Dragon’s Den, opened the Parliamentary reception for Global Entrepreneurship Week with a wave of the flag for SMEs. His two themes were the major gripes of small business owners — access to finance and employment regulations.

SME’s often face high-percentage revenue swings in periods of success or slow business and cannot always provide staff with guaranteed employment. The huge amounts of legislation involved in letting team members go has been described as ridiculous and small businesses often suffer and even die because they can’t be flexible with their employment registers.

The other great obstacle is access to finance. Caan demanded banks support the risks of entrepreneurs with loans. Investment from financial institutions and special care from the government are imperative to growing the economy out of stagnancy.

During the panel discussion that followed Caan’s speech there was general consensus, from the Ministers as well as the entrepreneurs, that the Government is good at encouraging start-ups but not so good at helping young businesses to grow. Lara Morgan, founder of Pacific Direct, and Ben Ramsden of social enterprise Pants to Poverty, both said they wished they had had government support in starting and growing their businesses.

Lord Newby, Vice-Chair of the Associate Parliamentary Group on Business, Finance and Accountancy (BFA), closed the event by calling on all entrepreneurs to lobby the Minister and their local MP to address the barriers that they face to growth.

The parliamentary reception for Global Entrepreneurship Week was hosted by the Associate Parliamentary Group on Business, Finance and Accountancy (BFA) at the Houses of Parliament, and was co-organised by Enterprise UK and the ICAEW.