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on Small Business
In 2008 we were invited by David Cameron, the then leader of the Conservative Party to Chair a Task Force and write a report looking at ways by which business support is delivered in the UK, and to suggest improvements. The report focused on 1) mapping and measuring current support, 2) Identifying the key shortcomings, 3) specific recommendations on remedying or restructuring support, and 4) wider policy recommendations beyond the specific scope of the report.
We formed a task force of 5 key industry leaders and a team of 20 researchers to develop the evidence base. We analyzed possible correlations between money spent & outcomes achieved including measures of growth, productivity, start-up & number of new starts. The 70 page Report covered all aspects of support across the UK comprising 3,000 business support programs, run by over 2,000 public bodies at a direct annual cost of £2.5 Billion pounds.
The report proposed a comprehensive overhaul of the complex, regionalized system and its replacement by a national online business information service coupled with regional business centres for local mentoring and teaching. Specific recommendations were made on auditing current programs, enhancing access to finance and government procurement. The report was adopted by the Conservative Party as it plan for government prior to the election.
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