Enthusiasm and momentum in the year ahead for small businesses
On the 10th of June we gathered with over 200 small business leaders, entrepreneurs and policy makers in the House of Lords to celebrate the Small Business Charter and our award holding schools. This event, which is becoming something of a tradition, was an opportunity to stake stock of the work we have done to promote and develop small businesses.
One of the main topics on conversation was how rapidly the landscape for small businesses is changing, not just in terms of policy but also in how changes in technology and culture have swept almost every industry.
In his remarks our patron, The Lord Young of Graffham CH, painted an optimistic account of how things had progressed over the past few decades. He spoke about how outsourcing and the internet had made running small firms easier. They used to have a “department for everything” but now anything like marketing, finance, IT systems and web design can be outsourced to a specialist who could be across the world. This means that entrepreneurs have more time to focus on what they need to and, so long as they are aware that these services exist, they are free to focus on the idea that made them want to start a business in the first place.
This sentiment was echoed by Simon Donaghan, UK Head seller of Services for Amazon. Simon highlighted how sole-traders and entrepreneurial businesses with little more than “a laptop, the internet, and a great product or idea” could go global. That Amazon, with their “Clicks and Mortar” initiative, were starting to help businesses who were born in our online age, start to sell on high streets.
We are incredibly enthusiastic about these ventures. A large part of the work that SBC schools do is making sure that small businesses know that these services are out there for them. You no longer need to be a polymath of accountancy, communications and web design. You can outsource a lot of the work you find difficult and focus on learning more about the things that really matter to your businesses and upskill in those instead. You could take a management course, or focus on product design.
Simon revealed that Amazon are also focusing on students. They launched their Campus Challenge at our reception, which is a programme aimed at student entrepreneurs. It partners them with small businesses to help them to develop an e-commerce business plan to help launch them onto Amazon.
This is great to hear and we look forward to see how SBC schools incorporate this into their, already impressive, offerings for budding entrepreneurs.
We also had the opportunity to celebrate some of the successes of the SBC over the past year, including Kent Business School becoming the latest school to receive the SBC Award. With reassessments underway and new schools applying it is set to be a busy year ahead. There is a real momentum building, and in a changing business environment the work of schools like Kent Business School will continue to be vital for supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs in the years to come. If the Reception is anything to go by this is a cause we will not only be able to continue to promote with pride and conviction, but will be able to do so with world class support from business and academia alike.