By Max Clarke

The Government’s decision to abolish Business Link and replace it with a website and a contact centre, supplemented by a network of unpaid mentors will not help the entrepreneurial recruitment sector, according to Helen Reynolds, Managing Director of HB RIDA- private equity investment support.

“David Cameron’s recent speech in which he outlined his proposals to encourage start ups and smaller companies offers little comfort to the recruitment sector,” says Reynolds.

“While it is encouraging to hear Mr Cameron acknowledging that it is the SME sector that is responsible for half of new job creation (and nowhere is this more evident than in the recruitment sector), simply expanding the enterprise allowance and introducing a new ‘Entrepreneur Visa’ is not enough.”

“There was little enough mentoring and support around for small businesses as it was. Now the Government is to abolish the regional Business Link Centres and replace them with a web based information portal and contact centre. It then aims to recruit 40,000 unpaid business mentors — a figure that appears to be highly ambitious. Couple that with the fact that in a survey undertaken last year, almost 70% of recruiters say that they prefer a sustained partnership approach from someone working within the business to help them with growth and exit strategies, and it easy to see why we are adding new businesses to our support programmes almost every month.”