On Tuesday the 21st September Capital Enterprise gets our industries equivalent of a papal visit, when the Minister of Business & Enterprise- Mark Prisk comes to speek and participate in a Q&A session with members at UCL.

Personally, I am very much looking forward to the visit, and although I am conscious that many of our members are more than a little disappointed and apprehensive about the forecast government cuts in business support services, I am confident he will recieve a warm reception. Well that is at least what I have been telling the Minister’s advisors.

We have submitted the following prepared list of questions and although the answers and discussions are to be “off-the record”- I hope to be able to broadly report, via this blog, on the Ministers thinking and policies. You can see the question below but If you have any better ones then please let me know by e-mailing sabrina@capitalenterprise.org

All questions were provided by attending Capital Enterprise members.


1. If economic growth and employment growth are to be driven by the private sector, does the Government have any views on the types of businesses which will predominately lead the way and if so what are your thoughts on how the government can incentivise and support them? – Peter Reid CEO of London Technology Network
2. The Government has mentioned a number of times that it is keen to foster entrepreneurial culture in the UK especially amongst the young- How does the Government want to achieve this? –  Nathalie Reid- Head of Funding Development- Prince’s Trust. 
3. What is the government’s vision for Enterprise Support in the UK- What type of support services can an entrepreneur or small business expect to be on offer in 4 years time? – Andrew Brocklehurst – Head of Enterprise Development -Avanta Enterprise Ltd ( Incorporating TNG & Inbiz)


1. We understand that the Dept of BIS has had to significantly economise- In making cuts what has been the Departments guiding philosophy and key priorities?  Simon Pitkeathley, CEO of Camden Unlimited Business Improvement District.

Heads-up- What’s coming next?

1. We understand that, subject to the CSR, the Dept of BIS is looking to fund an Enterprise Programme in deprived regions for excluded individuals. Can you tell us more? Naima Milson- Managing Director for Brent Business Venture. 
2. Can you let us know a little more about your plans to support High Growth new and small businesses?- Is the Department committed to a Regional Growth Hub Strategy? Tim Barnes- Director of UCL Advances. 
3. Will there be a Higher Education Innovation Fund next financial year? Yvonne Mavin, Director of Business Generation at Westminster Business School.
4. “There is a major review of business advice and support services being undertaken. A key (but little used) aspect of business support is mentoring, who success has been quantifiably demonstrated – indeed Fortune indicates that research shows that mentoring has a 500% return on investment. It can clearly be keen in helping to drive forward the expansion on the private sector envisaged by the coalition – but is an area where the UK is seriously lagging behind many of our major competitors. Could the Minister indicate the sort of measures he feels might help encourage an expansion of mentoring provision in the UK and how the Government can assist in delivering it?- Nick Winch – Policy Manager ( London) Federation of Small Business 
5. What role do you envisage for the British Library- Business Link? – Matt Garner, Managing Director of Camden Enterprise Agency.
6. What is the Government approach to assisting SMEs to access public sector contracts, thus contributing to their growth and sustainability?- Effiong Akpan CEO of Haringey Business Development Agency


1. London is not a homogeneous region in terms of economic performance.  Some parts are clearly not deprived – others parts, such as the East of London, have levels of deprivation that are either the highest or amongst the very highest in the UK together with significant and substantial innovation and enterprise deficits.  Will the roll out of Department of BIS initiatives  be sensitive enough to take account of significant sub-regional variations- Ray Wilkinson – Director of External and Strategic Services University of East London
2. We welcome the creation of a single unified work programme, as a third sector organisation with excellent success in supporting disabled people in setting up businesses as an alternative to direct employment could you give us your thoughts on the plans by the DWP to omit both London and young people under 25 from the Working for Yourself Programme?  – Leon Rodin ,Head of Project Development and Support- Leonard Cheshire Disability
3. Does the Dept of BIS support Local Enterprise Partnerships in London?- If so what does it envisage them doing?   – Diana Sterck CEO of Merton Chamber of Commerce

Call to Arms

1. In the 1980’s/90’s Enterprise Agencies support services for people who wanted to start a business were generously funded by corporate sponsorship- Is the government willing to support a “Campaign” to get the Corporate Sector to increase their support for Enterprise Agency services?   – Tim Heath, CEO of East London Small Business Centre

Specialist Question.

1. Enterprise Agencies and Not-for profit business support agencies in London will be more reliant than ever on income derived from managed incubator space to fund the  free advice services they provide to new and micro businesses. To support them  in their good works will the government give serious consideration to:

* Expanding the 80% Discretionary Rate Relief (DRR) to social enterprises and not for profits Companies ltd by guarantee and not just charities and/or allow registered Enterprise Agencies 100% DRR on business incubator hubs, even if it is an additional site(s) to their current registered trading address.  Currently this is at the discretion of local authorities.
*Extending Disadvantaged Areas Relief to non residential and mixed use properties. Disadvantaged Areas Relief, can reduce the amount of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) payable in areas designated by the government as ‘disadvantaged’.