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Research reveals government invested £9.8 billion supporting businesses in 2013-14

16th February, 2016 No Comments

A view of the iconic clock tower of the Houses odf Parliament in London.

According to recent research at the Innovation Growth Lab, the British government spent £9.8 billion in 2013-14 supporting its businesses.

The research was undertaken by Teo Firpo and Thomas Beevers following the announced cuts in business support services as part of the Autumn Spending Review, November 2015 – with the BIS (the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) seeing a 17% reduction in their budget.

The research set out to discover how the cuts might affect businesses and innovation in the UK, and crucially, to consider how the government should target the cuts.

Teo and Thomas considered it critical to know how the British government supports its businesses and entrepreneurs, not just through BIS, but across all departments, in order to reach any answers to these questions so the IGL research maps out how much public money goes to businesses and, importantly, through what type of support programmes. The research discovered that business support takes place across government departments identifying six other public bodies with business support programmes, including the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Department for Communities and Local Government, beside tax relief and BIS.

‘How much does the UK spend supporting its businesses?’ can be read in full here.

Summarised by Davina Young @ Cavendish

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Cavendish commits to supporting new businesses

9th December, 2015 No Comments

Business plan flow chart

Despite the Chancellor’s announcement to abolish the Business Growth Service, its not all doom and gloom for start-up businesses in England.  There are alternative initiatives and schemes available across the country which should enable businesses to access the same levels of support.

Chancellor George Osbourne’s announcement of a 17% spending cut for the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills will come as quite a blow to businesses who were forward planning their business strategies expecting to receive support under the Business Growth Service.  Many businesses across England are now in the position of having to re-assess their position and look for other options to help them reach their goals.

More and more businesses are coming to appreciate the value of business advice and strategic support.  The BIS Small Business Survey 2014: SME employers looked at business support services and determined that:

44% of SME employers had sought external information or advice in the 12 months prior to the survey.

In England and Wales, 22%of SME employers had sought strategic advice, and 26% sought information. The most common reason for seeking advice in England and Wales was for business growth.

Around half of those requiring advice or information in England had paid for at least some of it.

12% of SME employers had used a business mentor in the previous 12 months.

The Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills continues to support other schemes not affected by the cuts announced this week.  Through the Regional Growth Fund Round 6, announced in February 2015, Cavendish Enterprise is delivering the Start & Grow programme to start-up businesses with a high growth potential.

Kevin Horne, Chairman of Cavendish Enterprise said: “The RGF funds allow us to run an intensive support programme for new businesses that have growth ambitions.  We support them to start and grow in a manner which will improve their survival chances and create sustainable jobs.  This offer of funding has enabled us to build upon the work that we have been doing in the last three years through the Ready for Business programme which has helped to create 10,000 new jobs.”

In the light of cuts we need to promote and highlight the support that is remaining and make sure that it is optimised by those that need it in the SME category.

Start & Grow can provide access to funding for start-up businesses, and as they go on to grow and expand, through other business support schemes such as StartUp Loans, Virgin StartUp and regional government and privately funded grants and loan services.

There is a fee of £100 (+VAT) to join the scheme – the return on the investment amounts to a support package over 3 years from start up with an estimated commercial value of around £5,000.  Start-up businesses can expect to receive advice, and training in key areas to support them through the start-up stages, employment, and expansion.

There is also the promise of £12m per year from the government over 16/17 and 17/18 to be allocated across the Growth Hub network.

Cavendish is a partnership of enterprise support organisations and provides a comprehensive range of initiatives to support small businesses including business support, business growth, coaching and mentoring, financial signposting – funding, grants and loans, exporting, property signposting (incubation, offices and facilities), and training and development.

Carole White. Chief Executive of TEDCO (a Cavendish Enterprise partner delivering services in the North East) says:  “It pays dividends to talk to other people who have gone through a similar experience. The UK is full of incredible business people who really do want to help you. In addition there is an excellent range of business support available to help you with accessing finance, finding routes to market and making the right connections, putting together a business plan, and knowing who to turn to when things are difficult.”

“My advice to businesses” says Kevin “is to research and explore the marketplace.  Contact your regional business support provider and talk through the opportunities available to you.  There is support out there and professional bodies, such as Cavendish, will help businesses access the services they need.”

Written by Davina Young

What are your views on the Chancellor’s cuts?  Leave a comment below.


Business support will continue across England despite this week’s cuts

2nd December, 2015 No Comments

A view of the iconic clock tower of the Houses odf Parliament in London.

Cavendish Enterprise partners realise that they now have an even greater responsibility to support businesses in England.

As the news continues to filter through of the effects that the Spending Review will have on business support services the partners are working together to ensure that their business support offering is maximised to minimise the effects of the 17% cut to business services.  Saddened by the loss of other support services and the knock-on effect on SMEs, Cavendish will be working even harder to support businesses as they start and grow.

As a partnership of enterprise support organisations, Cavendish will continue to offer national programmes to start up and growing small businesses within their area, as well as their bespoke local  programmes.  There are a number of support programmes and a wide range of services currently available, each with a tailored offering, suitable to meet most SME business support and growth requirements.

Kevin Horne, Chairman of Cavendish gives his views on the effects of the recent government cuts to business support services and the implications for small business. By setting the current business support landscape and potential implications, Kevin frames it with a positive spin by highlighting current funded programmes that can offer business support and high growth advice:

News broke during the National Enterprise Network conference last week that the government was ceasing its Growth Accelerator and Manufacturing Advice Service. There has already been some gnashing of teeth as little notice was given and that the closure is immediate. I would argue however that this is a bold statement by the government and whilst the manner of the closure is clumsy, the long term effect may not be as devastating as first thought. We know that BIS has to make 17% savings and so it cannot be a surprise that there will be casualties as a result.

When looking at where the savings should be, BIS has to look beyond its normal coterie of advisors and acolytes and examine the market. Government should only intervene where there is market failure. There are a huge number of growth advisors and companies that support the mid sector, and as such it cannot be legitimately argued that there is a market failure. Whether all businesses are prepared to access this advice is another matter but as always the good advisors will find a willing market prepared to pay. There will be many examples of companies prepared to state how they have been supported by GA and MAS and this is to be applauded but has the existence of these schemes actually stifled the market by encouraging growth firms to expect a handout to access advice and support which would help them to grow?

Government should intervene where the market will not, and act as a catalyst to encourage greater take up of what the market can provide – of that there is little doubt. It is doing that successfully with Start-up Loans where there has been Bank failure and this will continue for the life of this parliament. But it is a loan and not a grant and as such there is a real return and the rates of start-ups have been increasing so eliminating the funding barrier has worked. There will come a time when the banks will step in to plug this gap (perhaps they should be funding SULCo now?) and then the government can withdraw. The recent Growth Vouchers programme is another scheme which sought to encourage take up of what the market had to offer for a limited period and the results of the evaluation will be eagerly awaited to see what effect this has had on those who took advantage.

Market failure exists at the start up and early stage growth end of the scale and perhaps it will always be the case. The government has to set the scene to encourage new businesses to start and grow and then as with a toddler be prepared to let them walk unaided. They can adapt the macro picture to make the environment receptive to taking those first steps and it is doing that through a number of initiatives such as Enterprise Zones and a benevolent tax structure. Beyond that it risks creating a dependency culture amongst businesses if it continues to subsidise at all stages. The Local Enterprise Partnerships now have the duty to take up the baton and tailor support to their individual areas – this and a number of overlaying programmes with targeted outputs – such as Start & Grow – will help to achieve a dynamic and innovative business base.

I understand the dismay of those delivering the GA and MAS programmes but feel that BIS should be applauded at taking some difficult decisions to help to balance the books – when that happens we will all benefit!

Click here to see the business support on offer from Cavendish Enterprise partners.


Government Launch Initiative to Support Business Start-up

12th February, 2015 No Comments

A new business start-up initiative that will build on the success of the Ready for Business programme has been announced by Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister today.  The programme funded by Round 6 of the Government’s Regional Growth fund will be delivered across England by the Cavendish Consortium in areas where there are lower levels of business start-up.  The Consortium, that is made up of six regional Enterprise Agencies, together with National Enterprise Network, has helped to create 10,000 new jobs through the current Ready for Business programme.

The new Start and Grow programme will specifically target start-up businesses who are investing to stimulate growth and create employment from an early stage.  It will offer a package of support to help those new businesses grow faster, achieve higher survival rates and employ more.  The support will include one to one advice, business skills training, mentoring, access to finance support and business planning.

The award is subject to completion of satisfactory due diligence.

Kevin Horne, Chairman of the Cavendish Consortium said:

“We are delighted that we have received an offer of RGF funding for the next two years.  The Cavendish Consortium is made up of the leading enterprise agencies in the country alongside National Enterprise Network and it is dedicated to supporting entrepreneurship and enterprise across the country.  The RGF funds will allow us to run an intensive support programme for new businesses that have growth ambitions.  We will support them to start and grow in a manner which will improve their survival chances and create sustainable jobs.  We will target our efforts in those areas which have lower levels of entrepreneurship and which will therefore benefit most from our intervention.  This offer of funding enables us to build upon the work that we have been doing in the last three years which has helped to create 10,000 new jobs.”

Dawn Whiteley, Chief Executive of the National Enterprise Network said:

“The enterprise support organisations and partners involved in the delivery of the Ready for Business programme have vast experience and success in supporting pre start-ups with business advisory and training services – in many cases built up over 30 years.  It is fantastic that we will now be able to support more start-ups through this RGF funded programme, using our proven expertise to offer a unique and dedicated support package to new businesses.

“With the commitment made to this programme, Government has demonstrated the value that start-up businesses have in our local economy and the role they play in business growth.  We are incredibly proud to have been successful in our bid to support additional start-ups through the development of this new programme.”

The Government’s Regional Growth Fund has invested nearly £3 billion to help businesses in England to grow; so far generating over 100,000 jobs.

56 new awards in Round 6 announced today, and seven through exceptional RGF support, gives £297 million to 63 projects and programmes to create and safeguard thousands more jobs and unlock an additional £1.5 billion private sector investment.


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