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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David Cameron has hit out at critics for raising fears that the health service is going to be
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Crude oil extraction in Montana in the US – the country’s output is now at its highest level since 1986
Prices of the black stuff have fallen by 30 per cent in five months as global supply outstrips demand. Ben Chu answers the key questions, including which nations are set to gain or lose out
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Video: The Independent's Toby Green provides a run-down of the day's major news from the City
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Google’s distinctive logo has become commonplace all over Europe
European politicians may vote this week to force the world’s biggest search engine to be broken up. But Andrew Dewson asks if the biggest risk to the company is bad publicity
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Jordan Belfont
The business guru is in London to show us how to become super-rich. Trouble is, says Oscar Rickett , it's all just boring platitudes
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Video: The Independent's Jim Armitage provides a run-down of the day's major news from the City
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Brace yourself for consumer frenzy, but is worth the hype?
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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?
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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%
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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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This year, more than ever, Britain will be swamped with discounts promising average discounts of 40%
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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
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The Independent's Jamie Dunkley explains how the EU cap on bankers' bonuses works - and what it means for the City
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The EU move will only serve to jack up salaries and allowances — it will not reduce their overall pay, writes Chris Blackhurst
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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’
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Video: The Independent's Simon Neville provides a run-down of the day's major news from the City
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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
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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
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Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron
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Day In a Page

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?