By Francesca James

Business and Enterprise Minister Mark Prisk today kicked off an initiative to spend a week working with small businesses to gain better insight into the experiences of companies on the ground.

Mr Prisk is spending the day with Bethnal Green-based DIY Kyoto, which makes wireless electricity meters to help consumers save energy.

The ‘Week in Small Business’ initiative was introduced by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to gain an in-depth understanding of the specific needs of small and medium sized businesses (SMEs).

SMEs account for more than 99 per cent of private businesses and their performance and activity is a key driver of the UK economy.

Mr Prisk is also actively encouraging employees working on enterprise policy at the Department to participate in the initiative over the next year to help boost their understanding of the real-life issues faced by smaller firms, and bring SMEs and Government closer together.

Mr Prisk said:

“This initiative is very important to me. It is a great opportunity to gain real-life experience and understand the issues small businesses and entrepreneurs face. This will enable us to capture ideas where Government can remove barriers to enterprise and test policy assumptions with real businesses.

“As I used to run my own business I have a strong idea of what really matters to business owners. This experience will give me even stronger insight into what small businesses need from Government, particularly as they prepare for the economic recovery.

“DIY Kyoto is a great place to start my work experience. It is a thriving company producing a revolutionary product. I am really keen to roll up my sleeves and understand exactly how the business works, and what issues they may face in the future.”

DIY Kyoto designs and manufactures wattson, an energy meter which consumers use to monitor their electricity usage by the minute. The company was set up to encourage and assist people in considering the amount of energy they consume on an everyday basis.

The founders now act as consultants and experts within the design, energy and environmental sectors, as well as developing additional features for wattson and continuing to grow their company.

Richard Woods, Co-Founder and Director of DIY Kyoto, said:

“We are delighted to have Mark Prisk working with us for a day. We are about to launch a new investment round in order to fund a number of new products in the UK, so we will be talking to Mark about these opportunities, and other ways the Department for Business can help and serve small businesses such as ours. We have just launched the high capacity wattsonXL for businesses, so we have got plenty of calls for Mark to make as well!”

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