New small businesses chiefs appointed

Two new small business champions aim to strengthen and enhance the structures that support growing businesses in Britain.

Following a review of the Department of Trade and Industry in November last year, DTI Secretary Patricia Hewitt has made two fresh appointments.

First Ms Hewitt has asked William Sargeant, currently head of the Small Business Council, to be a new “independent voice for small firms” in Government.

In this role, Mr Sergeant will attend meetings of the Ministerial Panel, which, he says, is “in effect a filter group, through which ministers are expected to account for the impact of regulations they bring in; and any negative impact they might have.”

He will also have direct access to the Prime Minister to discuss the matters that affect small businesses.

Sargeant will be giving the Government advice and comment on its policy as it affects small firms, but in particular he will be looking into regulations that have a significant impact on small businesses, Hewitt explains.

Although Sargeant agrees that dealing with regulations is “time spent not out there selling for your products,” he also sees access to finance and skills as equally important. He comments, “in fact barriers to growth are inability to get finance and skilled workforce in certain parts of the country.”

Ms HewittÂ’s second appointment is Martin Wyn Griffith as the new chief executive of the Small Business Service (SBS), at a time when the post is being redefined.

Mr Wyn Griffith is currently chief executive of Business Link Berkshire and Wiltshire. He is also a hands-on entrepreneur. He will be concentrating on improving the delivery of business support services, which Business Link-branded operators and other SBS partners provide.

He aims to make it easier for entrepreneurs to access finance from investors and lenders. He also hopes to help them develop the skills base of their employees and reduce the barriers to starting and developing a business.

In addition the new head of the SBS intends to “dramatically increase the quality and take-up of Business Link branded services by our small business customers.”

Both of the new small business champions will be taking up their roles in April.

With thanks to Lloyds TSB Success4Business.

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