Business Connections

Small Talk: Small food producers need more protection

If you’re a large company with hundreds of suppliers, each individual firm is entirely expendable

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.

Market Report: Travel agents and airlines cruise higher

As half-term gets under way City folk have holidays on their minds.

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.

Small Talk: Many employers face penalties over pensions auto-enrolment

Britain’s small businesses are sleepwalking towards a pensions disaster. Thousands are missing the legally binding deadlines by which they must introduce occupational pensions for staff – and many will face expensive fines and penalties as a result.

Market Report: Shouts on the streets of Hong Kong are being heard in Paternoster Square

The shouts on the streets of Hong Kong are being heard in Paternoster Square. As protesters took to the streets of the former colony’s business district to call for democracy, traders in London were hitting “sell” on companies that do business in Hong Kong. HSBC was the worst hit, with its shares falling 15.2p to 635p. The emerging markets specialist Standard Chartered ended 19p lower at 1,155.5p as both banks were forced to close their offices in Hong Kong.

Small Talk: The banks are still not following their own guidelines for lending – starving creditworthy businesses of cash

Banks are still making thousands of poor decisions about whether to lend money to small businesses, according to the banking industry’s own adjudicator.

Small Talk: A seat at the top table for small entrepreneurs would help to stop muddle and inconsistency in Whitehall

With barely a breath taken following Scotland’s independence referendum, policymakers have rushed headlong into party conference season, pursued smartly by every pressure group imaginable. The Federation of Small Business (FSB) is no exception – today it publishes its manifesto for the small business sector – and deserves a fair hearing if this government and its successors are serious about putting entrepreneurialism at the centre of economic recovery and growth.

News
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his annual press conference in Moscow
News
Bankers who reach the dizzy heights of partnership status at Goldman Sachs achieve legendary status in the bank’s London office
Exclusive: Being a partner at the bank has an almost mythological status, and an internal memo seen by Jim Armitage shows the qualities needed to make it - like charging a pension fund $70m
News
Rocket Internet’s founder Oliver Samwer, centre, with the incubator’s chief executive and finance director when it listed in October
The German-based start-up factory has churned out more than 100 businesses in recent years. And now it’s looking to replicate its success here, says Oscar Williams-Grut
News
We are not facing anything like as grave a crisis as we have twice in the past decade, says Hamish McRae
News
The rouble staged a brief recovery yesterday before resuming its slide
A massive central bank interest rate hike failed to support the rouble. This crisis is slipping out of Moscow’s control, says Ben Chu
Voices
Ringing the changes: BT has come a long way since the days of the General Post Office
BT's basic business of running wires into homes and businesses is hugely profitable, writes Hamish McRae
News
Satyajit Das: Donors are free to channel funds to their chosen causes, some noble, some hubristic and some just plain odd
News
The Uber app allows passengers to hail a taxi with a smartphone
Uber facing down the cabbies by recruiting lobbyists to push for law changes, says Oscar Williams-Grut
News
VIDEO City analysts sound the alarm over the upcoming Premier League rights auction as shares in TV giant slide
News
Self-employment is particularly important in construction
Self-employment conveys considerable risks: many lose their jobs, their houses, and even their marriages, writes David Blanchflower
News
Mark Carney inside the Bank of England in Threadneedle Street, London
The charismatic Canadian is now 18 months into his stint as Governor of the Bank of England. So how does he think he’s doing? James Ashton catches up with Carney
News
Gucci’s spring/summer 2015 collection was launched in Milan in September
The power couple who ran Gucci have gone, and in comes an insider charged with making the designer label even more exclusive says Laura Chesters
News
The final curtain is calling for theatrical performances on tax avoidance. Now it’s time to see if big accountants, clever multinationals and Britain’s blue chips can adapt to the emerging tax system, says Mark Leftly
News
The Ferrari factory in Maranello churns out cars whose high-end credentials could be diluted by the diversification championed by chairman Sergio Marchionne
As the Italian marque prepares to float, it is also ‘fleeing to London’ and putting its famous badge on products such as netbooks. Sean O’Grady asks if it risks losing its cachet
News
Retail billionaire has confounded many in the square mile with his leftfield moves and kept the entire retail sector guessing hinting at new shares bets
News
Twitter could be used to improve public services, just as it does private
More than 300 million people around the world reckoned to be using photo app
News
At the moment that possibilityof default is discounted by the markets, but if it were to occur, the plight of Greece would become an issue for Europe as a whole.
News
Alan Rusbridger is to let a ‘younger pair of hands take over the reins’
Under Alan Rusbridger, the loss-making paper spent fortunes on the web and won a Pulitzer. After 20 years, he is stepping down.
News
The FCA has imposed £1.1bn in fines on five banks over forex trading practices
Video: The Independent's Jim Armitage takes a closer look at damning report criticising the FCA's for botched report which ended up costing some of the country's biggest insurers billions of pounds
News
Twitter could be used to improve public services, just as it does private
The pressure will be on the next government to use this extraordinarily powerful tool, says Hamish McRae
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Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick