Speaking at the MADE entrepreneur festival in Sheffield, Business and Enterprise Minister Michael Fallon announced that there will be a new independent scrutiny of the unnecessary rules and regulations that are barriers to growth for challenger businesses. These are innovative enterprises that do not follow set ways of business working, and which might be held back by burdensome bureaucracy.
He gave an added boost to entrepreneurs by announcing that a network of 22,000 mentors is now accessible on the Mentorsme portal. Meanwhile Culture Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities Maria Miller announced an extra £100,000 to help entrepreneurs, particularly women in business, find mentors.
Michael Fallon said:
“Challenger businesses create wealth and jobs – we should champion them at every opportunity. They put new products on our shelves, innovate our service industry and create new markets using the latest technology. I don’t want these pioneers falling foul of outdated regulations.
“I am now looking in more depth at the rules and regulations that are holding back our most forward-thinking entrepreneurs. That’s why in addition to the package of proposals I’m publishing today, I am also strengthening the role of the independent Regulatory Policy Committee to make sure that regulation barriers to challenger businesses’ growth are removed.”
This experimental Red Tape Challenge work uncovered a wide range of issues – not all purely regulatory, but relevant to this theme. Key proposals are to:
- Create a strengthened independent function to champion deregulation when it hinders innovative businesses. The independent Regulatory Policy Committee will be asked by Ministers to investigate where challenger businesses, seeking to enter new markets, are being unjustifiably hampered by regulations or regulators and report publically on their findings.
- Encourage a self regulating approach in the peer-to-peer finance industry by increasing membership of their finance associations and building on their consumer code of practice.
- Help knowledge-based businesses to secure finance by working with banking and accountancy experts to improve existing guidance and raise awareness of the Government schemes which can help.
- Identify ways to drive down costs in applying for, and defending, patents, including examining the operation of the US ‘small entity’ regime.
- Make it cheaper and simpler for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to challenge potential infringements of their trade marks.
- Provide a better balance to the rights of consumers and online traders by implementing a new Consumer Rights Directive to replace the existing distance selling regulations.
- Amend the Estate Agents Act (1979) to take out of its scope intermediaries such as private sale portals, which only advertise properties and provide a means for sellers and buyers to communicate with each other.
Mark Littlewood, CEO of the Institute of Economic Affairs was champion for this Red Tape Challenge theme. His report and recommendations for challenger businesses will be published today alongside the Government’s proposals. The Government will continue to look into how it can reduce regulatory barriers and encourage new, challenger business models.
As part of a continuing package of support for SMEs, Michael Fallon also announced that more businesses than ever before can get access to trained mentors with a wealth of business experience. Mentorsme is the national mentoring portal, operated by the British Bankers’ Association, and it now boasts 22,000 accessible business mentors providing coverage across the whole of the UK.
Michael Fallon said:
“Business mentors play a vital role in helping SMEs to build their knowledge base as the support comes from someone who has been there and done it before. It is great that we now have a vast network of accessible business mentors but we want to grow that number even further and give greater choice to our entrepreneurs.”
To make sure that entrepreneurs, particularly women in business, are aware that this support is available, Culture Secretary Maria Miller today announced that £100,000 will be invested to help them find the right mentor to help their business prosper. This will bring the total government investment in the mentoring programme to £1.8 million.
The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and Minister for Women and Equalities Maria Miller said:
"Women are at the heart of our economic future. Helping them maximise their full earnings power will bring huge business benefits to Britain and help kick start growth.
“There is a huge wealth of under-utilised talent out there. Giving women the support of a mentor who can relate to the challenges they face is a great way to give these entrepreneurs the tools and confidence they need to succeed. Additionally we are pleased to announce extra investment today that will help spread the benefits of mentoring even further."
At the Festival Michael Fallon met young entrepreneurs and took part in the Intuit 100-up session, where young business people were matched up with volunteer business mentors, trained through the Get Mentoring initiative.
Notes to editors:
1. The results of the Challenger Businesses theme (previously referred to as Disruptive Business Models) can be found in Removing Red Tape for Challenger Businesses at: www.bis.gov.uk/challenger-businesses-report.
2. Mark Littlewood’s report suggests that challenger businesses in their formative years might be disproportionately affected by inflexibilities in the labour market. This highlighted the lack of understanding amongst firms of options available to them when hiring people. The Government will consider ways to address this. Proposals on employment law exemptions will not be taken forward as the Government does not believe there is evidence that it would drive up employment levels.
3. The Regulatory Policy Committee (RPC) was established in 2009, and in 2012 became a non-executive Independent Non-Departmental Public Body, sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). The RPC is tasked with providing for the first time in the UK, independent scrutiny of proposed regulatory measures put forward by Government. RPC reviews the evidence and analysis supporting new regulatory proposals to ensure that when Ministers make decisions on proposed new regulations, they do so against the background of a robust, evidence-based policy making process. More information about the RPC is available at: http://regulatorypolicycommittee.independent.gov.uk/
4. The Red Tape Challenge was launched by the Prime Minister in April 2011 and is systematically examining some 6,500 substantive regulations that the Government inherited with the aim of scrapping or significantly reducing as many of them as possible. It gives business and the public the chance to have their say, by theme, on the regulations that affect their everyday lives. It has also asked the public what red tape holds back Disruptive Business Models and Civil Society Organisations. The Government announced on 10 September 2012 that at least 3,000 of the regulations examined will be scrapped or reduced. More information on the Red Tape Challenge is at www.redtapechallenge.cabinetoffice.gov.uk.
5. Get Mentoring is a public/private-sector partnership, grant assisted by BIS and Government Equalities Office (GEO) and led by SFEDI (The Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative Limited). The project will recruit and train 15,000 volunteer business mentors from the small business community by the end of December 2012. SFEDI is the UK expert and standards setting body for business enterprise and enterprise support. http://www.sfedi.co.uk. They are working with over 140 business and trade bodies to deliver Get Mentoring.
6. Mentors trained through Get Mentoring are accessible via mentorsme.co.uk, the UK’s national mentoring gateway, operated by the British Bankers’ Association. There have been almost 90,000 unique visitors to the Mentorsme site since it was launched.
7. The £100,000 announced by Culture Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities Maria Miller today will help SFEDI match the trained mentors with women led businesses, ensuring that as many people as possible are aware of the support offered to help them set up or develop their business. To date 41 per cent of trained Get Mentoring volunteers are women and 11 per cent from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Groups.
8. This year the Government is running the Business in You campaign to encourage more people to start or grow their business throughout 2012 using a range of existing support services. More information is available at businessinyou.bis.gov.uk.
9. The Government's economic policy objective is to achieve 'strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries.' It set four ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’ (PDF 1.7MB), published at Budget 2011:
- To create the most competitive tax system in the G20
- To make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
- To encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
- To create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe.
Work is underway across Government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the Government wants the economy to travel.
10. BIS's online newsroom contains the latest press notices and speeches, as well as video and images for download. It also features an up to date list of BIS press office contacts. See http://www.bis.gov.uk/newsroom for more information.