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Small business council will give firms ‘voice at the table’, Badenoch says

The Government announced the new body for SMEs will launch next month.

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Kemi Badenoch

The Government has announced the formation of a Small Business Council and an update of the Help to Grow website to help small firms access the resources they need to expand.

Rishi Sunak on Thursday hosted small business leaders in Downing Street’s state dining room to discuss how to launch and scale up companies in the UK, saying he had “enormous respect” for people who “take that entrepreneurial plunge”.

Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch said the new council, which will bring together small and medium enterprise (SME) chiefs across the country from next month, will mean their voices are represented within Government.

The updated Help to Grow site will help entrepreneurs find what funding is available and provide webinars and guides on setting up a business for the first time, according to the Department for Business and Trade.

Support includes the Help to Grow management courses announced in the Chancellor’s autumn statement, which go live on Thursday.

Ms Badenoch said: “Small businesses are the lifeblood of our local communities and drive the UK’s economy, supporting jobs and wages across the country.

“This new council will mean SMEs have a clear voice at the table and we can deliver on the key needs for business.

“We are taking action to ensure that they have the support, tools and guidance they need to thrive – because when small businesses succeed, the UK succeeds.”

Mr Sunak’s panel discussion, which included sportswear firm Castore’s co-founder Tom Beahon; Olio food-sharing app boss Tessa Clarke; and Arcade Media entertainment company co-founder Jordan Schwarzenberger; took place in front of an audience of 70 small business figures in Number 10’s state dining room.

In his opening remarks, the Prime Minister said he was “incredibly inspired” by their achievements, adding: “My job and my desire is to help you all succeed.”

His comments also came on the day Sir Keir Starmer launched Labour’s plan for business at an event with hundreds of senior executives in London.

The Government on Wednesday appointed a new group of chief executives to advise it as it tries to win support from business leaders ahead of an election expected later this year.

The Prime Minister’s Business Council follows last year’s iteration of the group, which met him throughout the year, and includes household names such as Rolls-Royce, BT and Greggs.

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