The National Enterprise Network (NEN), a key representative body for micro and small businesses in the UK, is urging newly appointed Business Minister Jonathan Reynolds to fulfil the Labour Party’s pre-election pledge to support the country’s small businesses.

This call to action aims to harness the economic potential of these enterprises to drive growth and create jobs.

Before the election, the Labour Party committed to an ambitious plan to support small businesses, recognising them as crucial to both community vitality and national economic success. With Keir Starmer’s new cabinet now in place, NEN is pushing for the immediate implementation of this small business agenda to stimulate economic recovery.

Key Policy Recommendations

Earlier this year, NEN published its Policy Report, “Harnessing the Economic Potential of Our Small and Micro Businesses,” based on research from its network of Enterprise Support Organisations. The report outlines essential steps for the new government, including:

  • Finance and Economy: Making the UK the best place for start-ups and scale-ups by unlocking finance for growth.
  • Trade and Exports: Boosting small business exports through a comprehensive trade strategy and clear advice.
  • Invoice Payments: Eradicating late payments to small businesses.
  • Public Contracts: Ensuring fair competition for public contracts.
  • Skills and Education: Addressing skills shortages by creating Skills England and collaborating with local industries.

Economic Impact of SMEs

Alex Till, Chair of NEN, highlighted the significant yet overlooked contributions of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). He stated, “The UK’s micro, small and medium-sized enterprises account for 50% of the country’s GDP, 50% of its growth, 75% of its innovation and a third of its jobs.”

NEN is calling on the new government to leverage the potential of the SME economy to not only drive national growth and prosperity but also to rejuvenate local communities. This involves delivering essential skills, creating jobs, attracting investment, and fostering social cohesion.

The organisation is keen for the government to act on the commitments made in various business manifestos, emphasising the need for a strategic approach to support and develop small businesses across the UK.