Business Connections

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.

Small Talk: Small-company fat cats paying themselves almost as generously as big counterparts

Britain’s listed smaller companies are catching up with their larger counterparts in one worrying regard: they’re just as likely these days to be handing out whacking pay increases to fat-cat directors, irrespective of whether they’ve added sufficient shareholder value to merit such awards.

The pros and cons for small businesses are finely balanced

Small Talk: After two years of debate the effect on small businesses of a Yes vote in Scotland remains a guessing game

With less than two weeks to go until Scotland’s referendum, small business leaders appear to be sanguine. In March, 90 per cent of them told the entrepreneur network Ingenious Britain that they knew how they would vote, with 48 per cent concerned that independence would hurt their business. But by the summer, two-thirds of small and medium-sized business reckoned independence would make no difference to them, according to a survey by the networking group Vistage.

Small Talk: Take that leap, says the India-born Cobra entrepreneur and critic of the Coalition’s immigration policy Lord Bilimoria

When I came to England from India as a student three decades ago, being an entrepreneur was frowned upon – it meant being a bellboy or carpet salesman,” says Lord Bilimoria, the man behind Cobra beer.

News
Video: The Independent's Jim Armitage provides a run-down of the day's major news from the City
News
Brace yourself for consumer frenzy, but is worth the hype?
News
Bill Gross has the opportunity to demonstrate he still retains some old magic after being handed $500m to manage by George Soros
The investment management industry is in its death throes. At least according to new research published by State Street, erm, a Wall Street investment management group. Honesty on Wall Street? What madness is this?
News
Transport and storage is among the industrial sectors where pay has been falling
Wages are down 8.8% since 2010. In only three sectors out of 19 was pay growth above 2%
News
Video: The Independent's Alex Lawson provides a run-down of the day's major news from the City
News
This year, more than ever, Britain will be swamped with discounts promising average discounts of 40%
News
Questions over the tax regime when Jean-Claude Juncker was prime minister of Luxembourg will not go away
He may survive a right-wing coup, but the new boss of the EC still faces a struggle to shake off a tax scandal
News
The Independent's Jamie Dunkley explains how the EU cap on bankers' bonuses works - and what it means for the City
News
The EU move will only serve to jack up salaries and allowances — it will not reduce their overall pay, writes Chris Blackhurst
News
Peter Diamandis wants to mine asteroids for construction metals, rocket fuel and strategic metals such as platinum
The entrepreneur, author and space enthusiast says the human race has its future on another planet, but for now ‘the only constant is change – and the rate of change is increasing’
News
Video: The Independent's Simon Neville provides a run-down of the day's major news from the City
News
The Barclays Premier League trophy
What took Ofcom so long? It’s been obvious for a while now that something is wrong with the way TV Premier League football rights are sold, says Chris Blackhurst
News
Alexandra Tolstoy is now living with Sergei Pugachev, once known as Putin's banker, in London
The Russian oligarch Sergei Pugachev and his English lover Alexandra Tolstoy hit hard financial times when his bank collapsed. Since the High Court froze his assets this year, they have had to live on ‘just’ £10,000 a week, Jim Armitage reports
News
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron
Which groups have been penalised most by the Coalition's austerity measures? Ben Chu breaks down the numbers
News
Video: The Independent's Lucy Tobin provides a run-down of the day's major news from the City
Money
Video: The Independent's personal finance editor Simon Read offers some advice on ensuring you enjoy Christmas without the financial hangover
News
Sunday - Greece
Discussion of further fiscal stimulus ignores the high levels of debt, low growth rates and increasing borrowing costs that make the public finances of many countries unsustainable, writes Satyajit Das
News
Blame for the return to recession has fallen on Shinzo Abe’s decision to hike sales tax
Shinzo Abe spoke of ‘three arrows’ of reform but, as Ben Chu reports, his plan to slash the deficit nosedived, with a shock return to recession
News
Video: The Independent's deputy business editor Jim Armitage provides a run-down of the day's major news from the City
News
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Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
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The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
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Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
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Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible