Business Connections

Small Talk: Few entrepreneurial role models for risk-averse British

Who are the role models for Britain's aspiring entrepreneurs and small business founders? There are surprisingly few – anyone who works with small and medium-sized enterprises will quickly become accustomed to the same faces used to promote the sector's campaigns.

Small Talk: Let's give a warmer welcome to Vince and his Business Bank

Government isn't much fun – just ask Business Secretary Vince Cable, who in pre-coalition days was routinely lauded as politics' voice of reason, but who today has barely a friend to his name. The latest Vince wheeze to get a kicking is the Government's new Business Bank, which he hopes will be able to turn £1bn of taxpayers' money into £10bn worth of support for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Small Talk: Cameron plan to ease cash flow for SMEs could be a winner

Having failed to force Britain's banks to lend more to small and medium-sized enterprises, it appears the Prime Minister now hopes to persuade our largest companies to do their bit instead.

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

News
‘Pragmatic’ reforms may not be enough for the tax campaigners who protested outside Barclays’ AGM
Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
News
Tesco has been audited by PwC since 1983
James Moore: Change the incentives and you change the behaviour – that’s the theory
News
Athens is attempting to negotiate a better deal with its creditor nations in the European Union
Hamish McRae thinks that there will be a deal that enables the government to continue functioning in response for concessions that it can argue are just about within its red lines
News
There are good reasons to think it will be a temporary bout, but we are not home and dry yet, says Ben Chu
News
Nothing Thomas Cook could ever do would bring back the two children killed by carbon monoxide poisoning on a Greek holiday in 2006. But the firm’s handling of the case has been a lesson in how not to manage a crisis. Joanna Bourke reports
News
Research showed that one individual lost more than £13,000 in a gambling session lasting more than seven hours
Having meandered rather aimlessly for a couple of years, the awkwardly named Bwin.party suddenly finds itself cast in the role of Portia in The Merchant of Venice, beset by suitors on all sides, says James Moore
News
The chief executive of advertising giant WPP writes exclusively for The Independent
News
BrewDog, now Scotland’s largest independent brewer, has a great tale. David Prosser tells it
News
Chancellor George Osborne says he has a mandate for more austerity
So we are supposed to believe wage growth, productivity and GDP growth will not be impacted by the austerity that is to come, even though they were last time? David Blanchflower doesn't think so
News
The Bank of England Governor wants to ‘dampen down’ the idea that migrant workers, such as these fruit-pickers in Surrey, are an economic problem
Claims have abounded this week that new migrants are to blame for weak pay growth in Britain in recent years - but the evidence suggests otherwise, says Ben Chu
News
Verizon made the purchase in order to compete with the likes of Google and Facebook
The pop star Prince is enjoying something of a career revival in the United States. And, fittingly, Silicon Valley is also partying like it’s 1999. Andrew Dewson reports
News
Bob Diamond raised $325m for his African venture in 2013
Zeus seems to have chucked a stray thunderbolt at the financial titan that is former Barclays boss Bob Diamond. Will he and his Atlas Mara now have to hold up the heavens as punishment, asks James Moore
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Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine