Business Connections

Small Talk: Helping hand with cash flow – but urgent questions, too

Desperate times call for desperate measures. There is good reason to think the Government's new supply chain finance initiative will be successful – in that sense it is to be applauded. But the fact David Cameron last week felt it necessary to ask the bosses of Britain's biggest companies to back the scheme shows just how dysfunctional the operating environment for small businesses has become.

Small Talk: Give them credit if we want the minnows to do big things

Do this week's third-quarter GDP figures represent an opportunity? Ask any fund manager where in the stock market you should place your bets in the event of an economic recovery and the answer is likely to be the same: most statistical analysis suggests that smaller companies tend to outperform during the first stage of an upswing.

Small Talk: Rollovers don't do SMEs any favours as energy prices soar

Many contracts feature very short clauses in which break clauses must be activated

Small Talk: Only time will tell if sceptics are wrong on StartUp Loans

Elena Mingas is carrying a great deal of responsibility on her young shoulders. A 24-year-old dressmaker from Bury, Ms Mingas has just been named as the first beneficiary of the new StartUp Loans scheme, the initiative the Government launched in the Budget earlier this year to encourage entrepreneurialism among young people.

Small Talk: 'Scrap cheques' call to help SMEs fight late payments

When consumer groups forced the banking industry to abandon its plans to abolish cheques in 2018, it was celebrated as a populist victory. But it turns out that not all customers are so pleased. The British Chambers of Commerce says getting rid of cheques would be one way to tackle the late payments problem that continues to dog so many small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Vince Cable’s new bank
will be up and running
within 18 months and
hopes to lend £10bn

Cable reveals plan for £1bn bank to help small business

Coalition agrees to fund manufacturers directly after pleas to high-street lenders fail

Small Talk: the story of your life – and a tale of modern business

Who says British companies can't be entrepreneurial as well as inventive? Meet OMG, the Oxford-based technology business which will today unveil its first foray into the retail sector: a new type of camera that stands a genuine chance of changing the market.

Small Talk: A cleverer approach to the issue of intellectual rights

This week on Business Connections... David Prosser on making sure you comply with international sanctions. Join our growing SME network at: es-bc.co.uk

Small Talk: Online doors opening fast for small firms seeking funds

This week on Business Connections... David Prosser maps out the road to StartUp Britain. Join our growing SME network at es-bc.co.uk

Small Talk: Entrepreneurial spirit alive and kicking in North

This week on Business Connections... David Prosser reports on issues vital to the small and medium business. Join our growing SME network at: es-bc.co.uk

Small Businessman of the Week: Big companies overcharging SMEs by billions a year

Saurav Chopra is chief executive of Huddlebuy, the deals site that sells discounted business products and services to more than 35,000 SMEs

Small Businessman of the Week: Factoring in a speedier cash flow for small companies

Anil Stocker is director of MarketInvoice, which was set up a year ago to provide an alternative to traditional factoring services. It offers SMEs the opportunity to auction off outstanding invoices to investors, improving their cash flow

Global trading presents rich opportunities

Neil Kuschel's guide to international expansion for small businesses

Selling to the toughest consumer

Just over five years ago I sold my first pouch of baby food. It was actually the first pouch of baby food in the world - an innovation that launched the Ella’s Kitchen brand and started a revolution by creating a new category of premium baby food. 

Scenarios: A valuable tool in an uncertain world

While traditional models and forecasting have their place, scenario planning can be a real aid to preparing for the uncertainties of the future, says Stephen Boyle

News
A general view shows the skyline of a central business district in Beijing on November 27, 2013. Foreign investment into China rose 5.77 percent on year in the first 10 months of 2013, the government said on November 19.
Central to China’s agenda of driving growth through economic reform is a shift from debt-driven investment to consumption
News
Horses are given an early morning workout at Churchill Downs race track in Louisville ahead of tomorrow’s Kentucky Derby
Despite a decline in American horse racing, tomorrow’s meeting might be the most lucrative sporting event on Earth, writes Andrew Dewson
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
James Moore wonders if anyone noticed there were some good bits in Royal Bank of Scotland’s results
News
The weak dollar has led to speculation that Janet Yellen will not press ahead with a first rate hike since 2006
Fed chair, Janet Yellen, is expected to announce a rise in rates in the final quarter of 2015. Hamish McRae with Economic View
News
Stansted gets connected with Dundee from 30 March
Spare a thought for Anthony Brooke, one of the two men forced on to Alliance Trust’s board by Elliott Advisors, says Jamie Dunkley
News
Shoppers wait for Woolworths in Ashford, Kent, to open so they can hunt for bargains at the chain's closing down sale
Many commentators think businesses will breath a sigh of relief following the ruling
News
Parliamentary Business: The Lib Dems' centre of gravity on the EU has shifted. Mark Leftly finds the eurozone crisis has sharpened opinions
News
Women and the young are finding it more difficult than men to match with jobs that offer them the hours they desire
More hours mean lower benefit bills, higher tax takes and rising wages. David Blanchflower explains how falling jobless figures conceal a problem at the heart of the economy
News
Katherine Garrett-Cox opposes appointments at Elliott Advisors mooted by a hedge fund
Elliott has won the day and Alliance will need to work quickly to address that issue, says James Moore
News
Plans put forward by Ed Miliband have been met with derision by leading property figures (Getty)
Pledges to build millions of new dwellings, fiddling with stamp duty for first-time buyers – politicians are promising whatever they think the electorate wants to hear. Russell Lynch takes an unbiased look at the main parties’ election manifestos
News
Xavier Rolet says the economy will be pivotal in deciding how we vote
News
Protestors demonstrate outside a testy HSBC annual general meeting in London
HSBC’s shares were jumping like a grasshopper in spring in the wake of reports that it is considering spinning off the bank that brought it over to London in the first place, says James Moore
News
File photo
Employers should have an anti-harassment and bullying policy, which is properly communicated to the whole workforce, says Matt Gingell
News
The founders of Brew Dog, James Watt and Martin Dickie, with bottles of Tokyo*
This is an industry that has posted, on aggregate, compound annual growth of more than 100 per cent over the past three years, writes David Prosser
News
A Grimsby trawler: outside the South-east the economy is weak
There is widespread evidence that under-employment has risen even more sharply than the unemployment rate, says David Blanchflower
News
A court sketch shows Navinder Singh Sarao opposing his
extradition to the US at Westminster magistrates’ court
The Independent spoke to workers in the City on their lunch break
News
Protests against Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff
After a clear-out of executives and with dozens of politicians being investigated, the company's new chief has announced a clean start. Tom Bawden and Jamie Dunkley report
News
Bob Diamond’s bonuses ran into the hundreds of millions of pounds at Barclays
The disgraceful, shameful actions of Deutsche’s traders and of their colleagues who attempted to frustrate regulatory investigations are beginning to elicit merely a weary shrug of the shoulders, says James Moore
News
Protest rally in June 2011 in front of the parliament in Athens expresses opposition to a new austerity package
Hamish McRae can’t find a single developed country that has accumulated a national debt of 175 per cent of GDP in peacetime and not defaulted
News
Barclays is set to face its shareholders during what is likely to be another hostile AGM season after the demonstrations last year
Boardroom heads rolled when investors rose up and staged a series of pay revolts in the 2012 AGM season. Jamie Dunkley examines whether the events that rocked the City of London were game-changing or have been consigned to history
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Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk