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East Anglia: Vince Cable and Matthew Hancock to unveil new package of help for SMEs

11:06 06 November 2013

Secretary of State for Business Dr Vince Cable

Secretary of State for Business Dr Vince Cable

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Business Secretary Vince Cable and Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock will today kick off a new round of support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), including the first funding allocation from the British Business Bank’s investment programme and the launch of a campaign to help small firms grow.

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The first £45million of funding is to be committed to Praesidian Capital Europe (£30m) and BMS Finance (£15m) to provide debt finance of approximately £125m through their respective new funds. Once legal terms are agreed it is expected that both funds will start lending to small businesses in early 2014.

In addition, Mr Cable will also set out other measures to support to small businesses, including a new £1m Sector Mentoring Challenge Fund that will enable firms to benefit from support and advice from experienced business people in their own field of work and a £10m synthetic biology start up fund from the Biotechnology and Biological Science Research Council (BBSRC) to help entrepreneurial scientists working in synthetic biology get their business off the ground.

A new business support website, www.greatbusiness.gov.uk will also make it easy to access the services and products, including Manufacturing Advice Service, National Apprenticeship Service and Growth Accelerator, that help businesses grow. The website will be supported by an advertising campaign showcasing the very best in British small businesses, to help inspire other small businesses to take steps to grow. This is the first domestic use of the GREAT campaign.

Mr Cable described the annoucement as “a comprehensive package of measures that will address the concerns of small firms”.

He said: “The first investments from the British Business Bank’s investment programme will provide choice to smaller businesses looking to secure vital finance to help invest. Alongside cutting red tape and increasing the take up of business rate relief, Government has already made significant progress in improving the business outlook for small firms and entrepreneurs.”

Mr Hancock, the MP for West Suffolk, added: “Small firms are a vital driver of our economy’s success, so it is imperative we do all we can to ensure businesses don’t just survive, but thrive to compete in the global race.

“We have set out today the start of our ambitious plans to help small businesses realise their potential and the support available to them to help them grow. Government has an important role in providing a coherent package of measures to support businesses, but there is also a role for business-to-business support, with successful, growing small businesses talking to others about how exporting, hiring and business planning can take a business to the next level.”

The Deartment for Business, Innovation and Skills also announced today that the Growth Accelerator scheme, which provides specialised coaching to small businesses with high-growth potential, is on track to help its 10,000th firm in the coming weeks.

In the East of England, 783 businesses have already signed up to GrowthAccelerator, which sees proven business experts working with companies to coach and identify barriers to growth and ways to overcome them.

There have been 40 successful Regional Growth Fund (RGF) applications in the East, South East and London worth £240m. RGF is expected to generate up to £1.4 billion of private sector investment, creating or safeguarding up to 42,000 jobs in the East, South East and London.

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