By Claire West

As the Federation of Small Businesses’ (FSB) 40th anniversary conference in Manchester comes to a close, the spotlight is firmly on the small business talent of the future.

Panellists including Hushpreet Dhaliwal CEO of the National Association of College and University Entrepreneurs (NACUE) discussed the FSB’s NexGen programme, mentoring, finance and skills with an audience of hundreds of FSB members.

Over the next three years the FSB will be working with Young Enterprise to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs and bridge the skills gap between young people and business. Young Enterprise is the FSB’s official charity, and together they want to get more schools involved with local businesses and focusing on enterprise for their students.
To ensure momentum and growth for the next generation of business leaders, the FSB wants Government to create the right environment for more new companies to thrive. This should focus on enabling small business to take on new staff, access finance and encouraging exports and investment in products and services. Government should also ensure a good regulatory landscape for new small firms and reduce other barriers to doing business.
John Allan, National Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses, said:
“The needs of the next generation are different now than they were 40 years ago and it’s important we get the environment right. We want Government to help our young entrepreneurs and support the new businesses of the future. We want better access to finance, a network of mentoring schemes and schools to understand the skills required by businesses.”
Hushpreet Dhaliwal CEO, NACUE, said:
“Today there are more young people than ever starting up their own businesses, but they need real-world experiences of entrepreneurship in order to develop the skills and mindset that will help them be successful. That means more mentorship, more exposure to local businesses and more experiences which are about learning-by-doing whilst in education.”