Business Connections

Small Talk: Many young people are entering the jobs market without the right skills

Over the past couple of weeks thousands of young people received their exam results and I’d like to congratulate them all. Many of these school leavers will go on to work for a small firm or even start their own business.

Small Talk: Slow progress on curbing the power of energy giants – but small businesses can do more to help themselves

Another week, another inch forward in the grindingly slow battle against vested interests and uncompetitive markets that do so much damage to consumers and small businesses alike. Six days after announcing the referral of the banking sector for a full-scale competition inquiry, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced the next step in its investigation into the energy market, which has already been referred for the same process.

Market Report: Investors disappointed after hoping for juicy takeover bid for Salamander Energy

Investors hoping for a windfall from a juicy takeover bid for Salamander Energy have been disappointed.

Small Talk: Forget the regulator, it’s down to the customers to force better competition in business banking

Small businesses pleased that the Competition and Markets Authority’ has decided to refer the banking sector for a full competition inquiry should not get too excited. The truth is that if small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which the CMA agrees suffer at the hands of a lack of competition in the banking sector, really do want a better deal, they are going to have to fight for it.

Six in 10 small businesses are owed late payments and the average small business is currently owed £38,186 in overdue bills, Bacs says

Small Talk: Small businesses struggle to get paid – and too often the culprits are big businesses and councils

One in four companies is spending more than 10 hours a week chasing overdue payments

Small Talk: The Alternative Investment Market has recovered after five miserable years but is still fragile

Britain has a remarkable propensity for building things up only in order to knock them down again. The sad story of the online fashion retailer Asos is a case in point. Having lauded the company for years, driving its stock to higher and higher valuations, investors have run for cover at the first sign of trouble; two profits warnings have seen the share price halve this year.

Small Talk: Click and collect could be the catalyst for small, independent retailers to mount a comeback

Could the internet save the high street, particularly the smaller independent retailers we all profess to love but all too often fail to support with our custom? Brandon Lewis, the government minister with responsibility for the internet, thinks so – and he might be right.

Medium-sized businesses need more support to stop them from falling over the tax cliff

More support for Britain’s often-neglected medium-sized businesses: the Confederation of British Industry today publishes a series of proposals for tax reforms it hopes will enable many of these companies to fulfil their potential.

Small talk: As more small companies appeal against rejected applications for credit, banks need to try harder to get their lending decisions right

More than 1,100 small firms were wrongly turned down for finance by a big bank over the year to the end of March, a report reveals today.

Small Talk: Forget the funding... entrepreneurs should bank on having a mentor to give them a flying start

What support do business start-ups need most today in order to get off the ground, grow and eventually prosper?

Small Talk: Celebrating regional talent and innovation will help to foster growth, says chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses

In many ways, London is in a league of its own. It is home to one of the world’s greatest financial centres. The capital is a crucible of trade and commerce for both established and emerging markets as well as being the hub of creative talent, but there is so much untapped potential in our nations and regions.

Small Talk: In Britain small companies are often sold on to bigger firms. In Germany they tend to do things differently ...

The former BT boss Lord Livingston, who now serves at the UK’s Trade and Investment minister, is understandably delighted about the deal announced last week by Chinook Sciences, the Nottingham-based clean technology specialist. Chinook’s £300m contract to build a waste-driven energy plant in the UAE is the first large export deal for a medium-sized British company since Lord Livingston unveiled specialist support for these businesses earlier this year.

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With such persuasive Establishment friends, little wonder Evraz is not overly concerned Westminster will turn against it, writes Jim Armitage
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Problems at RBS suggest that lack of focus persisted during Stephen Hester’s tenure
As a £14.5m fine for poor mortgage advice highlights organisational issues at the bank, James Moore wonders what other revelations may emerge
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As Warren Buffett is criticised for helping the fast food chain move to Canada, it’s clear the issue of good corporate governance in the US is not going away
Life and Style
In the game: EA's 'Fifa 14' is very popular with online scouts
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The MBA has a vital role to play in changing the face of company boardrooms
Getting a chief executive to leave with as little fuss as possible has long been a dilemma for corporate boardrooms, now data-centre operator Telecity has come up with an alternative
News
Ian McCafferty, left, and Martin Weale, second left, are the ‘irrelevant minority’ of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee
Martin Weale voted for rate rises in 2011, but his predictions of rising inflation did not materialise, writes David Blanchflower
News
If so, you are worryingly accurate, as the most important economic measure can only be guessed at, Ben Chu reports
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Shoppers are happy with lower prices but Tesco is mulling a dividend cut which could affect our pension funds
Supermarkets have cut prices so hard that we’re actually spending less. But what’s good for shoppers will be bad for shareholders, writes Simon Neville
Student
A report from the Association of Graduate Recruiters predicts a 17% rise in graduate job vacancies this year
Many of the students who graduated this summer are having great difficulty finding work and, as Amy Denman explains, it’s often down to not having the necessary work experience
News
David Cameron is planning to revive the Communications Data Bill
His comments risk stoking the potent fear that immigrants are coming here and taking our jobs, says Ben Chu
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Howls of outrage would normally ensue, but the housebuilders have gotten away with it, says Russell Lynch
News
Janet Yellen, chair of the Federal Reserve Board
The Federal Reserve has become a rogue hedge fund, taking massive, wildly speculative positions
News
The Ummah Welfare Trust called on its supporters to boycott HSBC
Customer with Iranian links are being ditched by HSBC and others. They deny discrimination, but have hefty fines led to some banks being far too cautions? By Maria Tadeo
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'Political Ravishment - Or the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street in Danger!' from 1797 by James Gillray
Like Caesar’s wife, the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street is supposed to be above suspicion. But some members of Parliament have suspicious minds, writes Ben Chu
News
Detroit’s once glorious and now decrepit Michigan Theater now operates as a car park
They forgot the motor city in the years of American urban renewal, but now JP Morgan is writing a $100m cheque to kickstart Detroit. Some doubt the bank’s motives
News
Gerard Lopez took the wheel at the Lotus team five years ago with his business partner Eric Lux
He has investments ranging from real estate to Charlie Chaplin. But right now Gerard Lopez has Lotus on his mind
News
Mark Carney lamented ‘remarkably weak’ pay growth at last week’s Inflation Report after claiming in May it could hit 2.5 per cent this year
The unprecedented collapse in real wages under the Coalition is even greater than in the period of the Great Recession from 2008 until the Coalition took office in May 2010, writes David Blanchflower
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Business editor James Ashton shares his top stories of the week
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Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone