Recent Blog Entries
|Big business urged to pass on prompt payments to SMEs
Posted By Cabinet Office at 20/07/2011 02:09 PM GMT
The Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, today renewed the government’s pledge to increase support for Britain’s small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) by calling on big business to follow the Government’s lead and pay their bills promptly.
He made the call at today’s Innovation Launch Pad Product Surgery, a special event organised to enable some of Britain’s most innovative and pioneering SMEs to pitch their ideas direct to Government buyers.
Nine trailblazing SMEs were chosen for the event – the culmination of a process involving over 2000 civil servants voting on ideas submitted by 350 SMEs.
Francis Maude said:
Prompt payment is crucial to smaller companies. The Government has an excellent record on paying our bills quickly and we expect our suppliers to do the same and pay sub-contractors well within the 30 day limit. When work has been done, especially by an SME, it is just inexcusable not to pay up quickly for that service.
“We will be keeping a close eye on how the big suppliers choose to pay their sub-contractors and we won't shy away from naming and shaming those that we find have failed to pay promptly."
The Minister set out measures for monitoring prompt payment, including:
- Departments will monitor prime contractors performance as part of their contract management processes.
- SMEs will be encouraged to use the 'Mystery Shopper' service to report to Government instances where payment is slipping. The results will be published on this website.
- The Crown Representatives team, who coordinate the Government's approach to the management of key suppliers across all departments, will strongly encourage prime contractors to pay more quickly than 30 days.
Today's event builds on the radical package of measures set out earlier in the year, since February:
- 14 Government departments have eradicated the burdensome Pre-Qualification Questionnaire process from low value tenders.
- The Contracts Finder website has received over a million page views and has over 16,000 registered users.
- To date, 600 contracts worth over £80 million have been awarded to SMEs.
Notes to Editors
- The Coalition Programme for Government stated: We will promote small business procurement, in particular by introducing an aspiration that 25% of government contracts should be awarded to small and medium-sized businesses.
- Progress made to date on enabling more SMEs to tender for government procurements - First quarterly report
- Further information on the announcements made in February 2011
- The Crown Representative network, including the SME CR, has been operational since April 2011.
- Stephen Allott joined the Cabinet Office as a Crown Representative for SMEs. He has chaired the boards of seven different technology SMEs and led the successful growth of one SME from 50 to over 800 people. He has also been heavily involved in proving management consultancy to SMEs, founded the ‘Cambridge Computer Lab Ring and is a judge on the software and internet track for the Cambridge University Entrepreneurs Business Plan competition. Stephen is a, graduate of Cambridge University and a regular speaker on the growth of technology SMEs in particular.
- The Mystery Shopper service can be used if a supplier sees a tender they do not understand or a specification that they think is gold plated, and Cabinet Office will raise the issue with the contracting authority concerned, anonymously if necessary.
- The nine SMEs selected for the Innovation Launch Pad Product Surgery:
- Adinfa – a proposal to help Government to cut costs, cut carbon emissions and optimise operating efficiencies across its estate of data centres by monitoring and managing energy consumption in real-time.
- Becrypt – to provide highly secure, low cost, mobile access from any unmanaged, internet enabled PC/laptop/thin client. This enables people to work from home or remotely, using their own equipment without compromising data security.
- Cambridge Temperature Concepts - the NHS spends £20M per year on IVF for the patient group that this service addresses, and achieves 800 pregnancies as a result. Using this service immediately prior to IVF, a total saving of £2M is made whilst increasing pregnancies by 640, resulting in a cost-per-pregnancy reduction of 50%.
- Cat N Hosting – a proposal to migrate government websites to open source frameworks and save a significant proportion of the £24M spent per year on infrastructure and hosting.
- Health Analytics – a platform for clinicians and patients to access integrated NHS and social care records, enabling Health and Well-being boards to make informed decisions across health and social care, enabling huge savings from effective and joined up preventative care.
- HotDocs – a software tool to standardise and automate the production of routine documentation and forms.
- Learning Pool – an e-learning training system for local government that has saved over £30M for public sector customers over the last three years.
- MyWorkSearch – an online system offering a suite of services to help job seekers find employment.
- Software Europe limited – a service that automates clerical systems for claiming and processing travel and related expense within the public sector delivering savings of around 15%.
|Top entrepreneurs help small businesses enter Government “Dragons’ Den”
Posted By Cabinet Office at 14/04/2011 03:19 PM GMT
Six of Britain’s top entrepreneurs have offered to help small businesses build their business proposals about better value services to a Government “Dragons’ Den” style panel, Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude announced today.
The entrepreneurs will coach representatives from small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) who have submitted successful ideas for innovative and cost-saving Government goods and services to the recently launched online Innovation Launch Pad.
The Innovation Launch Pad, which opened on the Cabinet Office website in March, is open until 22 April. All SMEs are invited to submit their 500 word proposals for how their goods and services could help save the Government money or deliver better outcomes. Civil servants will have the opportunity to vote for those ideas with the greatest potential. The chosen business representatives will then present their ideas to a panel of senior government business officials, following coaching by the entrepreneurs.
The mentors are:
- Jon Moulton, founder and managing director of private equity firm Better Capital and member of the British Venture Capital Hall of Fame
- Mike Lynch OBE, co-founder of software start-up and now the UK’s largest software company Autonomy and also a trustee at NESTA
- Hermann Hauser CBE, founder of over 20 technology companies including Acorn Computers, who has an honorary CBE for ‘innovative service to the UK enterprise sector’
- Sherry Coutu, founder of two highly successful businesses in the financial services industry, investor in 35 businesses, and rated as the ‘top CEO mentor in Europe’
- David Cleevely, co-founder of Abcam and founder of Analysys and Chairman of Cambridge Angels
- Stephen Kelly, former CEO of Micro Focus and the Government Crown Representative for mutuals.
The chosen businesses will also be invited to a reception at 10 Downing Street.
Francis Maude said:
This Government does not believe there is a one size fits all approach to delivering services. That is why we want to make it easy for small businesses to tell us their ideas, as they will have a vital role to play in helping us to find new, innovative and more cost effective ways to improve services to the public. We also believe that supporting small business will help to kick-start growth in the economy. As part of this, we are doing everything we can to open up business to SMEs. We have committed to publishing all contracts online for business to see, got rid of the bureaucracy to allow new companies to supply government and appointed Stephen Allott to represent SME interests in Government.
“Our Innovation Launch Pad means that all SMEs now have the opportunity to present their business solutions to us. I am delighted that such senior business figures have volunteered to help us to get the very best out of small business for Government.
The Government’s Crown Representative for SMEs, Stephen Allott, appointed in February to give small suppliers a strong voice at the top table in Government, said:
I am certain that there is substantial opportunity for Government to save money and deliver a better service through much greater use of SMEs. If you’re an SME with a product or service that could save money, use the Innovation Launch Pad to tell us about it.
Innovation Launch Pad mentor, Sherry Coutu said:
I'm excited about the Government adopting some of the innovations from the private sector, in this case in more ways than one! The innovation launch pad idea is something that has been used successfully in private business.
“With the likes of Hermann Hauser, Mike Lynch, Jon Moulton - and other notable entrepreneurs with experience of making successful proposals to the Government - volunteering to work with the shortlisted companies to increase their chances of their proposals being accepted, I am very optimistic about this innovative process also working in the public sector.
“The Government buying more goods and services from SMEs is key. One pound of a customer’s money is worth ten times the amount of investment money to a small business. Given that 54 percent of jobs are created by 6 percent of small fast growth companies, this is excellent for everyone as small fast growing businesses will continue to drive the economy.
Mentor Jon Moulton said:
Small businesses in the UK have a fantastic reputation for innovation. The Innovation Launch Pad is a real opportunity for SMEs to showcase their proposals to Government. I’m looking forward to working with the best suppliers to help develop their ideas into really strong business proposals.
Notes to editors
- The Innovation Launch Pad was opened to business ideas on 28 March and closes on 22 April 2011. The Innovation Launch Pad and business proposals submitted so far can be viewed at
- Selected SMEs will be invited to present their ideas to senior government officials at a Product Surgery. Product Surgeries were announced by the Prime Minister and Francis Maude at the SME Supplier Summit in London on 11 February 2011.
- Stephen Allott’s appointment as the first Crown Commercial Representative for SMEs was also announced on 11 February. His role is to build a more strategic dialogue between HM Government and small suppliers.
- Jon is a British venture capitalist and very active angel investor.
- He sits on the boards of the Regional Growth Fund and the UK Stem Cell Foundation.
- He is a Fellow of the Institute for Turnaround and a Corporate Financier in the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.
- He is a member of the British Venture Capital Hall of Fame.
- He is also non-executive chairman at FinnCap, the UK based specialist growth company adviser and broker.
He is the founder and managing partner of the private equity firm Better Capital.
Dr Hermann Hauser CBE
- Dr Hermann Hauser CBE is a serial entrepreneur and has wide experience in developing and financing companies in the information technology sector.
- He is a co-founder of Amadeus Capital Partners.
- He co-founded the Acorn Computer Group plc and subsequently became vice president of research at Olivetti.
- During his tenure at Olivetti, he established a global network of research laboratories for the company.
- Since leaving Olivetti, Hermann has founded over 20 technology companies. In 1997, he co-founded Amadeus Capital Partners, a leading European technology investor.
- Hermann is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics and of the Royal Academy of Engineering and an Honorary Fellow of King's College, Cambridge.
- In 2001 he was awarded an Honorary CBE for ‘innovative service to the UK enterprise sector’.
- In 2004 he was made a member of the Government’s Council for Science and Technology and in 2009 took over the Chair of the East of England Stem Cell Network (EESCN) and became a member of the Government advisory panel for New Industry/ New Jobs.
- He has honorary doctorates from the Universities of Loughborough, Bath and Anglia Ruskin.
Dr Michael Richard Lynch OBE, FREng
- Mike is considered one of Britain's most successful technology entrepreneurs.
- He is the co-founder and Chief Executive of Autonomy Corporation, the UK’s largest software company by market capitalisation and a member of the FTSE 100.
- He has held a number of advisory and board roles in the venture capital industry.
- He was named the CBI’s Entrepreneur of the Year, the European Business Leaders Awards’ Innovator of the Year for pioneering new approaches to search and information processing technology, and Management Today’s Entrepreneur of the Year 2009.
- Mike won an IEE Award for Outstanding Achievement.
- He was awarded an OBE for Services to Enterprise.
- He is a pioneer in the area of computer understanding of unstructured information, an area which is becoming known as meaning based computing.
- He is also a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, a Lady Margaret Beaufort Fellow of Christ’s College, Cambridge.
- Sherry is an entrepreneur and investor.
- She was the youngest woman senior independent director on the London Stock Exchange Main Market.
- She has been active in European venture since 1994 when she founded her first company. As an entrepreneur, Sherry established and successfully sold two businesses in the financial services industry. The first (acquired by Euromoney plc) has operations in more than 70 countries; the second was floated in 2000 on London and Nasdaq before being acquired by AMP plc.
- Sherry is active in early stage investing and has raised several rounds of venture capital and public equity totalling more than $200 million.
- Representative investments range from Alertme, I20, Cambridge Temperature Concepts, Lovefilm to Zoopla and Bonobos.
- Sherry was voted the best CEO mentor/advisor in Europe by TechCrunch last year and one of the top 50 digital media 'power brokers' by Wired
- David is an entrepreneur, angel investor and telecoms industry expert.
- He founded and was Managing Director of Analysys Ltd and has worked on projects with most of the major telecom companies in the world.
- He was the cofounder and Chairman of Abcam, and is and has been founder and director of a number of Cambridge start-ups in telecommunications, IT, and biotech.
- He is Chairman and cofounder of Cambridge Angels, co-founder of Cambridge Network, and is the co-founder and Chairman of Cambridge Wireless.
- He was a member of the Board of DCSA at the Ministry of Defence from 2001-2009, and the Ofcom Spectrum Advisory Board from 2001-2009
- He is the Founding Director of the Centre for Science and Policy at the University of Cambridge, a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and the IET, and serves on the IET Communications Policy Panel.
- Stephen has over 25 years of delivering outstanding success in company growth and value creation.
- He served as an Executive Director of Micro Focus International plc, during which time the company achieved a six-fold increase in market value in less than 4 years.
- He served as a as the Chief Executive Officer of Chordiant Software, seeing it grow rapidly from a small start-up.
- Stephen was announced as the Government’s Crown Commercial Representative to support the creation of mutuals from existing service teams within central government departments on 3 April 2011.
|Innovation Launch Pad
Posted By Cabinet Office at 31/03/2011 10:56 AM GMT
Innovation Launch Pad
The Government has launched a new online tool, the Innovation Launch Pad, to enable small businesses to pitch their ideas on how they could do the business of government more cheaply or more efficiently.
The Innovation Launch Pad is part of a series of measures, announced in February by the Prime Minister and Cabinet Minister Francis Maude, designed to open-up the public sector marketplace to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
Through the Innovation Launch Pad you will be able to submit your business ideas between Monday 28 March and Friday 22 April.
The best ideas will be handpicked by a community of civil servants and, after intensive mentoring from some of Britain’s foremost entrepreneurs, those that demonstrate the highest impact will be invited to present their ideas at a “Product Surgery” in the summer.
Downing Street will also host a reception for those with the best ideas. This will aim to stimulate new open competitions in Government markets in which these suppliers will be able to participate.
Minister Francis Maude has welcomed the initiative saying it will bring “better value for Government”:
“SMEs can offer Government more innovative, more flexible and more cost effective products and services, but we know they often find it difficult to bring their ideas to our attention.
“Through the Innovation Launch Pad, we will get better value for Government and support small business. Government needs more online engagement like this.”
Read more: Innovation Launch Pad – how it works
Read more: Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
|StartUp Britain - Groundbreaking campaigns and projects announced to help inspire and support new businesses in the UK.
Posted By Cabinet Office at 28/03/2011 11:36 AM GMT
The Government has today announced a package of measures to support enterprise and small business, including that every school in England will be able to develop and run its own business.
These announcements come alongside the launch of Start-Up Britain, the ground-breaking response from the private sector to the Government’s call for an ‘enterprise-led’ recovery. Prime Minister David Cameron has helped launch this major new campaign to support entrepreneurs.
These new measures will give young people the opportunity to gain real business experience, inspiring the next generation to seriously think about starting their own company. The Government has today announced:
- Support for every school to run its own business through the Enterprise Champions Programme.
- The creation of enterprise societies in every University and most Further Education Colleges.
- A major roll-out of Tenner Tycoon, the successful competition owned and run by the Peter Jones Foundation.
- A new online tool, the Innovation Launch Pad, enabling small businesses to pitch their ideas on how they could do the business of government more cheaply or more efficiently.
- The launch of Brighton Fuse, an initiative to expand the creative, digital and IT sector in Brighton and Hove and provide business opportunities for graduates.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said:
“We want to transform the ambition and aspiration of young people through real business experience.
“Through Tenner Tycoon, the Enterprise Champions Programme and enterprise societies, we will be giving young people insight into enterprise at an early age, showing them how rewarding it can be to transform your own ideas into a real business.”
StartUp Britain is an independent collective of UK entrepreneurs and big businesses, representing the private sector response to the Government’s ambition for an enterprise-led recovery.
Over 60 leading global brands have pledged millions of pounds in support to new entrepreneurs under a major new campaign launched on Monday 28 March.
StartUp Britain will be a champion for the UK’s 270,000 businesses that start up every year aiming to help drive growth by accelerating, inspiring and celebrating Britain’s start-up talent.
Follow StartUp Britain on Twitter
Inspiring the next generation
Speaking about today's announcements, Business and Enterprise Minister Mark Prisk said;
“We need to inspire young people to strike out on their own, and also give them the practical tools to help. It is vital that everyone has the opportunity to develop their ideas and learn the skills needed to succeed in business.
“Enterprise societies will be run as businesses, engaging with entrepreneurs and delivering the knowledge, networks and skills that students need to start and manage a business. We need more growing companies in this country and the Government is doing everything it can to harness the great enterprising spirit of our nation.”
Enterprise Champions Programme
Schools across the country will set up and manage a business through the the Enterprise Champions Programme.
Schools will be given access to online resource materials and tools which will give practical advice for teachers. The Government will help schools engage local enterprise champions to support school businesses and extend learning into the commercial environment. BIS will be working with the Education and Employers Taskforce to have all elements of the programme up and running by the end this year.
Enterprise societies in universities and colleges will provide students with the skills and support to develop and manage a business. The Government will aim to deliver societies into all 89 universities in England and at least 160 Further Education Colleges.
BIS will work with the National Consortium of University Entrepreneurs (NACUE) and the National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurs (NCGE) to provide recommendations by the end of June, and to showcase the first new enterprise societies by November this year.
Tenner Tycoon challenges young people to make as much profit and social impact as possible through enterprising activities over one month with a ten pound loan. Currently, 25,000 young people take part in the Tenner Tycoon competition each year. The Government will work with the Peter Jones Foundation to help Tenner Tycoon reach at least 250,000 young people by 2014.
Peter Jones CBE said:
"I welcome the Government’s commitment to increase its focus on enterprise in schools. Through my Foundation and Enterprise Academy, I want to help rewire the entrepreneurial potential of our country. The strength of business-led initiatives like Tenner Tycoon is that it gives thousands of children across the nation an opportunity to learn about entrepreneurship in a very practical way. Over the course of a month, by seeing what they can do to grow a ten pound note, young people learn essential business skills.
“My Foundation has ambitious plans to grow Tenner Tycoon tenfold from 25,000 in 2011 and this will help create a winning enterprise culture in our schools. We will work with government, business, education and political audiences who can help realise the superb potential of the scheme and the ambitions of our young people.”
Innovation Launch Pad
If you are a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) you can now pitch your business ideas through the Innovation Launch Pad, showing how you could provide better value for money in the delivery of the Government’s business.
You will be able to submit your business ideas between Monday 28th March and Friday 22nd April.
The best ideas will be handpicked by a community of civil servants and, after intensive mentoring from some of Britain's foremost entrepreneurs, those that demonstrate the highest impact will be invited to present their ideas at a Product Surgery in the summer. In addition, Downing Street will host a reception for those with the best ideas. This will stimulate new open competitions in Government markets in which these suppliers will be able to participate.
This is a £1 million government funded project to fuel the creative, digital and IT economy in Brighton. It is led by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Council for Industry and Higher Education (CIHE).
It brings together Brighton and Sussex Universities with Wired Sussex, which represents 2,000 creative businesses. It aims to help the Brighton cluster create more entrepreneurial opportunities for new graduates and help graduate-rich SMEs gain access to the best university research to help build their businesses.
Enterprise and business support