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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).

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.

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Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo!
Yahoo owns a 22.5% stake in Alibaba after making a $1bn investment- but IPO could be a make or break moment for Mayer, says Oscar Williams Grut
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A pedestrian walks past Alibaba.com advertising in Hong Kong.
The countdown for Alibaba's New York float has begun and the stage is set for what could be the biggest initial public offering of all-time. Here is what you need to know.
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Video: The Independent's Alex Lawson provides a run-down of the day's major news from the City
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Jack Ma founded Alibaba in 1999 with a website offering 22 items. It now accounts for 70 per cent of all packages delivered in China
E-commerce behemoth on track to become the biggest IPO in history
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Americans are less fussy when it comes to shareholder rights and Alibaba is taking advantage to ensure Jack Ma remains in the driving seat, writes Anthony Hilton
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A Yes vote does not deliver independence; it delivers a negotiation to secure the terms of independence. But once politicians start negotiating, anything can happen.
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VIDEO : Get the latest business news from our City staff
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While the Canadian province eventually voted No, the years of uncertainty caused banks to move elsewhere and damaged GDP. Mark McSherry ponders a similar fate for Scotland
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Phones 4U stores will remain closed while talks continue with parties interested in acquiring the business
The mobile phone retailer’s demise is a tragedy for its employees, but just business sense for those responsible, Alex Lawson and Simon Read report
News
The Deputy First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon (right), is joined by the leader of Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru Leanne Wood (centre) as they pass a bookmakers during a walk-about to meet the Scottish electorate
There’s a lot riding on Thursday’s poll, not least among bookmakers and punters such as Russell Lynch , who would like a referendum that makes them a little richer
News
Latest figures say export growth in Britain has slowed to its lowest point since April, while factory output is at its weakest since the start of 2013
The underlying trend in  factory output is its weakest since the start of 2003, writes David Blanchflower
News
Alex Salmond and the nationalists reject claims that Scotland's economy would suffer if the UK broke up
Ben Chu looks at what could happen if the 'yes' campaign triumphs in next week’s independence referendum
News
Emissions policies will raise the cost of steel making
As Europe pursues anti-pollution measures, steel producers are warning that steeper costs will drive customers away, writes Thomas Biesheuvel
News
Such an outcome would be the worst result for Scotland, says Mark Leftly
News
Samuel L Jackson at the annual event
The company donates its global revenues on the day to hundreds of charities
News
Véronique Laury takes over as Kingfisher’s chief executive from Sir Ian Cheshire in January
More than half the UK population is female but she will become only the fifth FTSE 100 female chief executive, says Laura Chesters
News
Whatever the outcome of the referendum north of the border, the basic structure of both the Scottish and English economies remains the same
The less-clear message is that holders of Scottish assets are wary of independence, writes Hamish McRae
News
The new iPhone 6 is displayed during an Apple special event in Cupertino, California.
Tim Cook, Rupert Murdoch and Arianna Huffington were among those to voice their thoughts
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