Business Connections

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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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?

News
Tour operators Thomas Cook and Tui have cut forecasts for this year
Travel companies may be feeling the pinch as Aegean holidays dwindle, but car sales are buoyant, says Jamie Nimmo
Voices
Polonius in ‘Hamlet’ counselled against debt
'Neither a borrower nor a lender be,' burbled Shakespeare’s Polonius. Ben Chu says it’s worth asking: Why do we borrow?
News
Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin empire

Jim Armitage says that while it may sound good the $500m project has many pitfalls

News
The Chinese way: many investors haven’t completed high school

Shanghai Duolun Industry, a Chinese real estate company, managed to win over investors with a little re-branding in May. Ana Swanson reports.

News
Quindell deals in insurance claims but now faces its own sink or swim situation
The insurance claim outsourcer – the one-time darling of AIM – has shares suspended as new inquiry begins. Jamie Nimmo reports on an extraordinary fall from grace
News
The estate has pumped money into transforming Regent Street into a luxury retail attraction, with brands such as J.Crew
As the portfolio posts record profits, with West End plans afoot, it shows no sign of slowing. But the estate is also under scrutiny. Joanna Bourke reports
News
A protester shouts slogans during a pro-European demonstration in front of the Greek parliament in Athens. Greece's international lenders raised hopes for a vital bailout agreement to save Athens from default and a possible euro exit, despite warning no deal was likely at an emergency summit
Jim Armitage on the two key points commentators unerringly miss about the Greek crisis talks
News
What does the Greek Prime Minister have in common with the men who ran big banks on the eve of the global financial crisis? Ben Chu reports
News
Ferrero, the Italian chocolatier behind Kinder Eggs, Nutella and Ferrero Rocher, now owns a 29.9 per cent stake in Thornton
Jim Armitage laments Thorntons disappearance into the Italian maw of Ferrero
News
This year’s model: the summer look at Asos. A £1,000 investment in the retailer in 2001 would now be worth £160,000
Amid scandals such as Langbar and success stories like Asos and Majestic Wine, investors will have mixed feelings on the junior market’s anniversary. Jamie Nimmo looks back on a chequered past and asks if the future will be more rewarding
News

Jerry Greenfield, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s, hasn’t been chilling out since selling to Unilever. As he tells Margareta Pagano, he’s still passionate about ‘hippy values’. And now he’s helping other entrepreneurs

News
Crowds in Walmart in California

There are lots of arguments about why Wal-Mart has been good for the American economy. Almost all are bunk, says Andrew Dewson.

News

George Osborne has put plenty of pressure on Royal Bank of Scotland. Make it safe, make it lend and, now, make it saleable.The Chancellor might have chosen to add another: make it invest in its computer systems. James Ashton reports

News
Block Workout is a gym, community centre and philosophy based in Brixton
News
Six banks were fined, including Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), for trying to manipulate foreign-currency prices are a stark reminder of the need for sweeping changes
Banks’ IT systems are “creaking” and it is because consumers want things like mobile phone banking services. James Moore reports
News
King Digital, the firm behind the hugely popular Candy Crush game, took its IPO to the New York Stock Exchange last year
More than half of Europe's 'unicorns' came from Britain in the past year. Jamie Nimmo investigates whether the UK has the financial market infrastructure to develop the next global technology giant
News
Alexis Tsipras, the Greek Prime Minister, said bailout conditions had ‘asphyxiated’ his country
Leaving the euro would be a much better option for Greece. But politics points in one direction, economics in another. Hamish McRae navigates
News
A Qatar Airways 787 Dreamliner arriving at Heathrow Airport
It seems that it isn’t only migrant workers unfortunate enough to find themselves building stadia for the 2022 World Cup who get a rough time at the hands of Qatari employers. James Moore reports
News
A giant Hong Kong $100 banknote stands in the window of HSBC’s Asia headquarters, but local citizens are worried about competition for jobs as links to the Pearl River delta region are strengthened
The Pearl River delta is now the world’s most populous area, bigger than Tokyo with a matching economy. Clare Jim and Lawrence White report on HSBC’s efforts to tap into the region’s potential – and the risks the bank faces
News
Laura Moss, one of DACA's young entrepreneurs
Research shows that female small business leaders have greater entrepreneurial ambition than their male counterparts, says David Prosser
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Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test