Enterprise Minister Starts Small Business Work Experience
Business and enterprise minister Mark Prisk has started a six-month period of “work experience” at small firms across the UK to gain an insight into the challenges business owners face.
Launched by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Week in Small Business initiative will encourage BIS employees working on enterprise policy to carry out similar placements.
Prisk will spend a day with five different small businesses over the next six months, observing how they are run and discussing what is important to them. Two of the businesses will be in his own constituency, Hertford and Stortford.
The minister has already visited London-based DIY Kyoto, which makes energy-saving wireless electricity meters.
“This initiative is very important to me. It’s a great opportunity to gain real-life experience and understand the issues small businesses and entrepreneurs face.
“This will enable us to capture ideas where government can remove barriers to enterprise, and test policy assumptions with real businesses,” he added.
Federation of Small Businesses spokeswoman, Sara Lee, welcomed the initiative.
“It gives Mark Prisk and his team a chance to see what’s going on, on the ground, and it gives firms a chance to air their frustrations about issues such as finance or red tape”
“It will give the Government the knowledge they need to see how their policy and legislation impacts on small businesses.”
However, home-business support network Enterprise Nation’s founder, Emma Jones, said that the initiative was “a PR stunt”.
“Prisk already has knowledge of small businesses, because he once ran one himself and you never forget that ? so in that respect this ‘work experience’ is just a very good PR exercise. However, it’s also a good initiative because he is making a statement that the Government wants to be in touch with businesses.
“But it’s important that ministers don’t create their policy based around what one business has told them. It’s a shame that Prisk hasn’t committed to keeping the Small Business Finance Forum, which brought together all the business groups and included a wide range of small business voices. The Week in Small Business initiative is no substitute for that.”
To watch a video of Emma Jones interviewing Mark Prisk about the coalition’s plans for small firms, visit the Enterprise Nation website.