David Prosser

David Prosser is a former business editor of The Independent who now writes for a variety of publications, often focusing on small and medium-sized enterprises and entrepreneurship.

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Small Talk: The high failure rate for start-ups can be reduced by better support

Data from Companies House suggests 2014 will prove to have been a record year for start-ups: by the end of October, just short of 500,000 new businesses had been incorporated since the beginning of the year, 63,000 more than at the same time last year, itself a record year for launches.

The taxman seems to treat firms differently according to their size

UHY Hacker Young has been compiling figures on the outcome of compliance investigations into small businesses’ VAT accounts

Small Talk: Small businesses are failing to hire more female directors

It doesn’t seem unreasonable to think that young, fast-growing and innovative small businesses are likely by their very nature to be less conservative than their larger and more staid counterparts. But it’s always a mistake to jump to conclusions, as a study of some of Britain’s best private companies reveals: it turns out these businesses are way behind when it comes to the number of women they employ at board level.

SME: The Chancellor fights for bank bonuses but not for mis-selling victims

Interest rate swap contracts proved disastrous for the finances of many small businesses

SME: Start-ups are getting support, but it is falling away far too early

The smallest and newest companies by and large make a relatively small contribution to the economy

Small Talk: Other sources of money for young businesses don’t mean banks can’t – or shouldn’t – help

The retailers Sir Philip Green and Mike Ashley top an intriguing ranking just published by Start-Up Loans, the government scheme set up to offer new businesses finance, advice and mentoring. The “Rags to Rich” list features entrepreneurs who started with a relatively small cash sum and turned the companies into large and successful enterprises.

Small Talk: Many are making thousands from their hobbies, thanks to the web

Hobbyist traders contribute £8bn to the economy mint images

Small Talk: Small firms are missing out on the advantages of switching banks

Complaints by small businesses about their banks have tended to focused on credit – or the lack of it – in recent times, but what do these customers think about the rest of the service they receive? Are they happy with the way their business current account is run, and are they getting a fair rate of interest on the often sizeable amounts of cash they hold?

Small Talk: What about trying someone a little older, Lord Sugar?

So here we go again. Television’s annual tribute to the great entrepreneurial spirit of Britain arrives on our screens this week. And it is no wonder that the country’s small business start-up rates are running at an all-time high, given the quality, determination and, above all, passion of the candidates making their bid for glory on The Apprentice. We can expect every single one of them to give, at the very least, 110 per cent.

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