Business Connections

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.

Small Talk: Long after the news cameras and politicians have moved on from the flood-hit areas many small businesses will still need help

For now, small businesses affected by flooding are getting plenty of help. A £10m scheme unveiled by the Government last week follows previous announcements of official support, ranging from business rates relief to extensions of the deadlines that normally apply for filing company accounts.

Small Talk: Memo to satirists of sexism - that joke isn’t funny. Consciously or unconsciously, female entrepreneurs are still being held back

Terry Simmonds of the UK Small Business Directory says he was misunderstood. He insists a recent online post was a spoof inspired by a conversation he’d had with another male website entrepreneur rather prone to sexism – and not the insult to female businesswomen it was widely interpreted as being.

Small Talk: The Prompt Payment Code is proving a case of too little, too late as large companies continue to play for time in settling invoices

New year, same old story. Despite endless government promises to crack down on late payments, it looks as if many small businesses will spend a good part of 2014 chasing larger businesses for money they are owed.

David Prosser: EU cash on the Horizon for innovators

The wheels of the European Commission sometimes grind slowly, but the Horizon 2020 project seems set to deliver valuable benefits to innovative small businesses in the technology and manufacturing sectors.

David Prosser: German lessons for British firms

Britain’s failure to build sufficient numbers of mid-sized businesses capable of matching Germany’s famous Mittelstand companies has been a long-held frustration for policymakers of all persuasions – it’s encouraging, therefore, to see them doing something about it.

David Prosser: The booming FinTech 50 businesses are exploring the use of new technologies – and many are British

Has Britain found its niche in the dotcom 2.0 boom? The growing number of financial technology businesses that are based in the UK but successful in the global marketplace suggests it just might have done – and rightly so, given its importance as a financial services hub.

News
The venture dug a hole for itself when it sought to raise funds for its Russian goldmines
Petropavlovsk's shareholders yesterday voted to wipe out the value of their investment. Jim Armitage reports on how the shine came off the company
News
David Potts started out as a Saturday boy in Tesco
After a vertiginous rise through the ranks of rival Tesco, David Potts was yesterday named boss of Morrisons. So are his former employers in his sights? Simon Neville finds out
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
Video: Oscar Williams-Grut provides a run-down of the day's major news from the City
News
The HSBC tax evasion files are just the tip of a probable mountain of tax avoidance hidden in tax havens around the world
The department has spent several years investigating HSBC’s Swiss unit and how it allegedly helped US citizens evade taxes, writes James Moore
News
Residential houses
Markets at the turn of the millennium were overpriced - it was the height of the dotcom boom, says Hamish McRae
News
Card Factory, owned by Charterhouse, was one of several discount retailers to float on the market last year
Last year it was discount stores and online fashion. This spring’s crop of retail floats, Alex Lawson reports, is being led by furniture. They will join a more wary market
News
Video: Alex Lawson provides a run-down of the day's major news from the City
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Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower