31/01/2012

By Marcus Leach, Head Of Editorial At Fresh Business Thinking

"Small businesses and entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of the British economy and I am determined that we, working with the private sector, do everything we can to help them to start up and to grow in 2012. I want to encourage people to go for it and make this the year of enterprise – whether that is fulfilling their dream of starting a new business or taking the leap to grow their business, to employ more staff, or to start exporting."

That is the message from David Cameron. But what does that mean to you? Well, Mr Cameron has recently launched 'Business in You', a major new campaign aimed at inspiring people to start or grow their own businesses and helping small businesses and entrepreneurs understand the array of information and help available from the Government and private sector.

The Government and private sector campaign is based on the concept that there is 'a business in everyone' and that all businesses can realise their ambitions. Partners in the campaign include StartUp Britain, the Confederation of British Industry, the British Chamber of Commerce, the Institute of Directors, the Federation of Small Businesses, the Forum of Private Business, the major banks (via the British Bankers' Association and the Better Business Finance Campaign), the Engineering Employers Federation, the Social Enterprise Coalition, the Institute of Credit Management, Microsoft, Mitie, Ernst and Young and Grant Thornton.

In further action to help small businesses get off the ground, the Prime Minister has also announced plans to make empty and under-used Government offices available to small businesses so that they can start up and grow.

There is a wealth of information and help available to SMEs - the Government and the private sector have come together to make sure that small firms and budding entrepreneurs know what is available and to expand the offer, with some of the campaign partners providing free services including workshops, web-based seminars and video tutorials on issues like finance as well as providing mentoring and access to face to face consultancy sessions.

The campaign, running nationwide throughout 2012, showcases real life small business owners who come from a wide range of backgrounds, and each has an inspiring story of how they turned their passion into their livelihood through hard work and support. Launched last week, it will now roll out through radio adverts, outdoor posters across the country and national and trade press.

The campaign features a new ‘Business in you’ web portal which will bring together the resources available to business owners and entrepreneurs to help them start or grow their business as well as inspire them with stories of how other people have achieved success.

Each month, the campaign will focus on a different theme relating to start ups and growth including exporting and employment and will highlight the wide range of Government support available; from online advice on Businesslink.gov.uk through to specialist schemes such as the Enterprise Finance Guarantee, a loan guarantee scheme that encourages banks to lend to viable SMEs which lack the collateral or credit history to secure a normal bank loan.

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