Business Connections

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).

Market Report: Glencore is close to selling Las Bambas copper mine to the Chinese

Glencore Xstrata is close to selling a major Peruvian mine to the Chinese, with shareholders expecting a significant windfall.

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.

Market Report: It is hard to imagine what could prevent a test of the Footsie all-time highs

Mergers and takeover excitement on Wall Street pushed stocks up stateside helping the Footsie to a 14‑year high yesterday.

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.

Small Talk: The Prompt Payment Code is proving a case of too little, too late as large companies continue to play for time in settling invoices

New year, same old story. Despite endless government promises to crack down on late payments, it looks as if many small businesses will spend a good part of 2014 chasing larger businesses for money they are owed.

David Prosser: EU cash on the Horizon for innovators

The wheels of the European Commission sometimes grind slowly, but the Horizon 2020 project seems set to deliver valuable benefits to innovative small businesses in the technology and manufacturing sectors.

David Prosser: German lessons for British firms

Britain’s failure to build sufficient numbers of mid-sized businesses capable of matching Germany’s famous Mittelstand companies has been a long-held frustration for policymakers of all persuasions – it’s encouraging, therefore, to see them doing something about it.

David Prosser: The booming FinTech 50 businesses are exploring the use of new technologies – and many are British

Has Britain found its niche in the dotcom 2.0 boom? The growing number of financial technology businesses that are based in the UK but successful in the global marketplace suggests it just might have done – and rightly so, given its importance as a financial services hub.

News
The Everett factory, where Boeing’s planes are assembled, is so vast that rainclouds have appeared near the ceiling
The plane maker operates the biggest factory in the world- just don't mention the parking to its 40,000 staff Lucy Tobin reports from Seattle
Life & Style
Facebook intends giving users the ability to transfer cash
The social network wants to tap into a new generation of smart spenders by entering the financial services arena
News
Chief executive Philip Clarke has introduced a new testing process so that customers can be sure that what is on the label is in the packet
The knives are out for Philip Clarke. But only a fool would write him off, yet... Alex Lawson reports
Voices
Chancellor George Osborne will reject tax cuts for middle classes in his Budget
Osborne’s handling of the economy has resulted in an ignominious defeat for the Chancellor, says David Blanchflower
News
Dividend time: The Co-op goes the extra mile with puddings for drivers. Now it has lost its way
The community-minded movement ticks a lot of boxes but its virtues have been squandered
News
York’s Shambles, where independent shops thrive
A movement for independent local loyalty cards plans to go nationwide, James Legge reports
News
The London Book Fair took place this week in Earls Court, a showcase for the UK’s £3bn-a-year books business
By adopting the methods of their online rivals, traditional publishers can ensure a bright future. Gideon Spanier on the industry's resilience
News
Dan Loeb has a fearless and brash style
The 270-year old auction house has come out fighting against the hedge fund king's attack on its board. Laura Chesters reports
News
The Port of Felixstowe, in Suffolk, is the UK’s busiest container port
The IMF is sounding a warning shot over Britain's economy recover. Ben Chu examines how concerned we should be about prospects for growth
News
Bellyaching about foreign investors, empty properties and taxes won't stop a bubble. We must get building, says Chris Blackhurst
News
By 2016 Britain's biggest coal-fired generation station aims to produce half its electricity from biomass. Margareta Pagano meets the woman driving the transformation to a green future
News
Economic, financial and structural reform is badly needed- but no such reform is politically palatable, Satyajit Das
News
Caroline Murphy wanted to turn Murphy Group into a workers’ co-operative
The acceptable face of capitalism? Meet Caroline Murphy, the heiress who walked away from a fortune
Voices
Does the Chancellor want lots of eighty-year-olds in employment? And if so why? asks David Blanchflower
News
Office for Budget Responsibility head Robert Chote
The OBR's chair talks to Ben Chu about the Treasury's bad old days and whether he could work with Ed Balls
News
Cupid has to be agile to keep up with rivals
The online dating agencies are fighting it out for business as more and more Britons turn to a new way of looking for love. Alex Lawson reports on how money can be made out of romance
News
Balderton’s big hitters: (clockwise, from top left) ‘Grand Theft Auto’ which uses Natural Motion’s engine Euphoria; Betfair; Wonga; and LoveFilm
London's Balderton Capital, the capital behind Betfair and Wonga, is pulling the centre of gravity across the Atlantic, says Oscar Williams-Grut
News
Leo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill in The Wolf of Wall Street
Twenty-five years ago, Michael Lewis exposed a Wall Street run by gambling addicts. These days he reckons it’s rigged, says Chris Blackhurst
News
The shadow banking system exemplifies a popular Chinese saying – “policies come from above; countermeasures from below”, says Satyajit Das
News
Andrew Tyrie says too much regulation has been ‘mindless box ticking’ designed to protect the regulators’ backs
Andrew Tyrie tells James Moore he believes financial reward should be earned, and senior figures held accountable
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Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit