The government has announced its intentions to create an 'entrepreneurial decade,' in which it will be made easier for small firms to do business.
A series of measures aimed at assisting small businesses were announced at a summit attended by Business Secretary Vince Cable, Business Minister Mark Prisk, Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude and Lord Young, who has been appointed the new enterprise tsar.
Young will examine the ways in which government departments interact with small businesses and will advise on how the government can make it easier for them to thrive.
Improving access to finance was one key measure – the government announced that the Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) Scheme will continue for the next four years.
Under the scheme, the government guarantees 75 per cent of a small firm's bank loan, with the banks covering the remaining 25 per cent. The extension of EFG will make a further £2 billion available to small firms.
The government is also to inject an extra £200 million into Enterprise Capital Funds, which enable firms to sell debt in exchange for a stake in the business.
Other measures included helping small firms to win more public sector contracts. The government said it would aim to remove any barriers that prevent small firms from accessing government contracts. It will also ensure that all government contractors pay their suppliers within 30 days.
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