Questions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer

Screen Shot 2022-09-21 at 11.18.30

The Great British Entrepreneur Awards founder Francessca James met with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak to ask him questions about entrepreneurship, from entrepreneurs in our own community. 

Lucy Cohen, Co-founder of Mazuma, asks, “There are only two courses in Wales, for help to grow management schemes, and one of them currently is just ‘to be confirmed’. So, what more is being done to encourage small businesses outside of London and the Southeast bubble?”

The Chancellor responded, saying, “We are absolutely trying to expand, Help to Grow across the country, and we’re in the process of that and trying to sign up new business schools to offer it. So I’d ask people to keep checking online and see whether there’s a course near, near to them. I think the other thing we’re doing is, we want to make sure that companies, wherever they happen to be in the UK, get a fair shot at growing and getting supported. 

“We have these programs which provide finance to businesses, called Regional Growth Funds, and with the budget last year we expanded them to make sure that they were in every part of the country. We also have something called the Regional Angels’ Program - as you know lots of people are thinking about angel funding. It wasn’t always the case that you could get angel funding so easily when you were setting up your business outside of London and the Southeast, that’s changing, and there’s a brilliant network of angel investors across the country now.

There is also government support for a new program - 150 million pounds, which partners with angels all around the country to make sure that you’re starting up a business somewhere that isn’t in London, the Southeast, there’s a good chance that you can get funding for that business plan.

Lucy also noted that on the Help to Grow digital scheme there are currently only around 10 suppliers, “but there are many more suppliers that could genuinely help businesses on that journey. So what else is being done when it currently seems like a drop in the ocean?” 

In response to Lucy’s second question, the Chancellor said, “We’re currently, in a process of evaluating people who come forward and want to be part of the scheme and we will add more companies and different types of software to it over time. It’s very new - So we’re actually only just in the process of rolling it out. 

‘We did a lot of research with companies and one of the things they said to us is that they get slightly intimidated and put off when there are too many options, and they want a little bit of help guiding them to which might be the right options for them. So we’re trying to balance curating a set of options, which doesn’t put people off but also provides choice. But our intention is to add in more providers and more types of software to the program over time - for the long term.

This is about making sure that we create a culture where entrepreneurs are supported to use the best and newest software to help grow their businesses” he said. 

You can watch the full interview with the Chancellor here.