Government ‘needs to understand SME landscape’

Better targeted support from the government could help SMEs and startups grow, says MCA Think Tank

Government 'needs to understand SME landscape'

The question of whether the government is really doing enough to support the growth of startups, SMEs and entrepreneurs is something we’ve discussed at length this month. It’s all well and good preaching how entrepreneurial spirit and small business endeavour could lead us to economic prosperity. However, actions speak louder than words. Is the government really walking the walk or is it just talking the talk? 

The Management Consultancies Association (MCA) has had its two pennies’ worth this week. Its latest Think Tank paper, SMEs: Limiting Burdens, Targeting Support, urges the government to improve its understanding of the SME landscape so it can target its support and policies for growth more effectively. The MCA Think Tank, which compromises of some of the UK’s leading management consultants, says that such an understanding would help ensure that the government’s growth, tax and regulatory policies are adapted to the needs of SMEs. It also believes that active segmentation of SMEs could help the government identify those entrepreneurial businesses with an appetite for high growth.

Further recommendations in the paper include bespoke regulatory timetables for SMEs to ensure that their form filling doesn’t come all at once and the consolidation by the government of various support funds into a smaller number of pots, providing clear summaries of the support entitlement appropriate to their sector. The MCA Think Tank also proposes that it works with BIS to investigate ways in which the recently-launched Growth Voucher scheme could be used to support collaboration between businesses with similar advisory needs.

It’s relatively clear that a lot more needs to be done. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skill (BIS) estimates 500,000 new enterprises were created last year. However, it also estimates the net growth was much lower than this, indicating a relatively high failure rate.

“Understanding those SMEs with a strong appetite for driving their business forward from those that do not is crucial to stimulating more robust growth amongst SMEs,” said Paul Connolly, director of the MCA Think Tank. “For instance, focusing on those entrepreneurial SMEs could have the collateral benefit of helping identify those sub-sectors that can best respond to the demands of the modern economy.”

From a local plumber to the latest digital entrepreneur, the diverse landscape that SMEs embrace means they will always have varying needs in terms of government support. Once the powers-that-be are able to break these barriers down, businesses will finally be able to receive the targeted support they’ve always desired. 

Tom Davis
Tom Davis

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