Small Businesses Need More Attention

In recent years the holy grail of economic development has been the attraction of overseas inward investment. The importance of attracting such investment is seen as essential to the creation of jobs and the development of the economy.

The successes have been significant and continue to make an important contribution in the form of jobs, new skills and investment in research and development.

In contrast, the priority and resources given to the role local small businesses play in rebuilding and rebalancing the economy has been secondary.

The conversation often centres on which sector is more important but there is a need to realise the importance of both sectors and treat them equally.

A successful economic policy should not be a choice between two competing alternatives, as both are needed to support businesses and create jobs.

The discussion about economic policy often overlooks the fact that small businesses play an essential role in local economies that, in turn, support the national economy.

Given that we have a clearly defined and successful inward investment strategy, it is useful to highlight some issues that would help strengthen a small business strategy.

– First, local small businesses are adversely affected by restricted access to credit, as banks continue to limit the number of new loans.

– Second, the government, government departments and associated bodies need to reduce the cost of businesses employing staff and the general cost of doing business.

– Third, the level of taxation and rates, both direct and indirect, restrict the spending power and disposable income of customers of local small businesses.

– Fourth, entrepreneurs and business owners must be supported in the decisions and risks they take through better access to finance, mentor support and advice in relation to starting and growing a business.

Government and business need to work together and inward investment and small business policies need to be given equal priority and resource support.

SO, just as the economy needs an inward investment strategy, it equally needs a small business strategy to create and sustain local jobs.

What do you think? Do small businesses need more attention? Get in touch, we would love to hear your views contact Nick on 028 8224 9494 or via Twitter @nick_oec.