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: Who should we thank for falling unemployment? SMEs. So we must do everything we can to help them carry on the good work

Who should take the credit for Britain’s jobless rate falling back below 7 per cent? Well, while policymakers argue about the politics of lower unemployment, let’s look at the figures: since 2010, 84 per cent of job growth has come from small and medium-sized enterprises, while almost nine in 10 people moving out of unemployment have either started their own business or been taken on by someone else’s small company.

Small Talk: Incentives are generous for social enterprises although the patchwork of schemes can make the search for help complicated

Remember the famous Google motto, “do no evil”? The giant search engine has found it difficult to maintain an unblemished reputation as a force for good as its business has grown, but the principle remains important to Google’s founders. And if nothing else, they’ve proved that the pursuit of profit does not have to be a business’s only goal – capitalism and social conscience do not have to be mutually exclusive.

Small Talk: Controversy as the $2bn sale of Oculus in the US could have a dramatic impact on Britain’s crowdfunding scene

Here’s an ethical dilemma for would-be tycoons. Having got your business off the ground thanks to the financial contributions of well-wishers, what would you owe them if the company is eventually sold for a small fortune? Nothing? Their money back? Or a share of the profits?

Small Talk: An opportunity for reform must be taken. Small firms need as much help as consumers in winning a better deal from energy suppliers

The Government increasingly recognises that high and unavoidable fixed costs are holding many small businesses back – hence the further help offered on business rates in the Budget. But having assisted with one of the two biggest costs for many small firms, what can it do to mitigate the other one – their rising energy bills?

Small Talk: The Chancellor has given exporters his backing. But is it a lack of funding that has stopped firms selling overseas, or a lack of nerve?

Do Britain’s small firms share the ambition of the Chancellor for exports? George Osborne set Britain a target in the Budget: he wants to get 100,000 more British businesses exporting by 2020 and he’s putting his money where his mouth is – in particular, with a doubling of the funds that UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) can use to support overseas sales through loans to purchasers of UK goods (plus these loans will now be cheaper).

Small Talk: The big banks, far from helping small businesses, are blocking their attempts to find finance

The Office of Fair Trading may not have put it in quite these terms, but its latest pronouncement on the big banks’ attitude to small businesses effectively accuses them of behaving like the nasty boy who says “it’s my ball and you’re not playing”.

Small Talk: Britain can learn a lot from Canada in the global race to woo the entrepreneurs vital to creating jobs

If you took a drive last year out of San Francisco down Highway 101 towards Silicon Valley, you would have sped past a giant billboard emblazoned with a huge red maple leaf. Its sales pitch, “H-1B Problems? Pivot to Canada”, was an appeal to international entrepreneurs who have moved to Silicon Valley but run into problems with the US’s H-1B visa programme for high-skilled workers.

Online gambling operator 888.com is a client of XL Media, which specialises in driving internet users to its site

Small Talk: Trailblazer Legal & General is helping SMEs find an alternative to bank debt in tough times

Pension funds and insurance companies need a very particular type of investment in order to run their businesses.

Small Talk: Long after the news cameras and politicians have moved on from the flood-hit areas many small businesses will still need help

For now, small businesses affected by flooding are getting plenty of help. A £10m scheme unveiled by the Government last week follows previous announcements of official support, ranging from business rates relief to extensions of the deadlines that normally apply for filing company accounts.

Small Talk: Memo to satirists of sexism - that joke isn’t funny. Consciously or unconsciously, female entrepreneurs are still being held back

Terry Simmonds of the UK Small Business Directory says he was misunderstood. He insists a recent online post was a spoof inspired by a conversation he’d had with another male website entrepreneur rather prone to sexism – and not the insult to female businesswomen it was widely interpreted as being.

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