VIEW FROM THE HOUSE
BUCKINGHAMSHIRE is a good place to start a business, primarily because of the excellent skills base in this county.
There are other positive factors such as good transport links nationally and internationally, with the growing strength of our communications links. I find that there is also a strong ethos of enterprise and innovation in our area, which encourages people to think about starting their own business. In the past it has sometimes been difficult to get advice about taking those first steps. There is now a website www.greatbusiness.gov.uk, which provides a place to find sources of information and practical advice for the many questions for which someone setting up a new business is going to have.
For those at the very start of their business career, there is a template Business Plan to study. There’s a Business Support toolkit which enables the user to enter details about the business and which then suggests which resources and schemes could be available to help the enterprise develop. Just a few of the areas covered include finance; employment and skills; new markets; new ideas; and regulation. There are case studies on issues like tax reliefs and about taking on apprentices. This resource is open to existing businesses so that they can refresh their knowledge and consider ways of developing the enterprise and help it to expand. Businesses whether brand new or well-established need to fulfil their responsibilities to employees and learn more about workplace pensions or the minimum wage. There is also a Business Finance Guide which covers the financial spectrum from start-ups to stock market flotations.
There are times when every entrepreneur needs a bit of help and advice from a real, live person. The Great Business Support line enables people to do this by telephone – 0300 456 3565, where they can speak to an advisor. This service is available online too, Monday to Friday, with the business hours of 9am to 6pm.
Information is also available through weekly emails, through an app, or on social media: for instance, the Facebook pages have recently featured a series of short videos about aspects of exporting.
DOMINIC GRIEVE MP for Beaconsfield