Innovation and Skills

How to Create a Culture of Innovation

How to Create a Culture of Innovation

Innovation can be surprisingly easy to cultivate, provided that you’re giving it the conditions it needs to thrive. Without innovation, any business will be left in the dust. The sky is the limit when it comes to creativity, and the seeds you need to plant may already be dormant in the minds of your employees. By making small changes that encourage a creative mindset, your employees will naturally feel compelled to share their ideas. Keep the conversation channels open If you want the gears in someone’s brain to turn, you’ll need to ask them questions. If workplace conversation is strictly limited to the tasks that need to be completed, no one will be inspired to explore new possibilities. Keep everyone talking. Have meetings frequently, and encourage feedback. Show your employees that the... »

Quarter of Small Businesses Don’t Have Basic IT Skills

Quarter of Small Businesses Don’t Have Basic IT Skills

A quarter of the UK’s small and medium business owners admit that they lack basic digital skills and could be missing out on opportunities over the web, as new government research points to strong correlation between digital skills and high turnover. The report, entitled Digital Capabilities in SMEs, featured 803 small firms and was conducted by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (DBIS) which found that, while 98% of small businesses use the internet for business purposes, only 64% have a website. Most business owners used the web for online banking and to email customers but only 20% used the internet for ecommerce sales. Of the businesses that didn’t have a website, a staggering 77% said they believed a site was not necessary. Other reasons small businesses gave for not h... »

Government-backed Bank Lending to Small Firms Plummets

Bank lending to small businesses under the Government’s Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) scheme has fallen by 42 per cent in the past 12 months, new figures have revealed. Research from financial services group Syscap found that the total value of loans offered to small firms under the EFG scheme fell from £742 million to £433 million in the 12 months to 30 June 2011. The EFG scheme was introduced by the Government in 2009 with a target of lending £1.3 billion to viable businesses with a turnover of up to £25 million. Under the terms of the scheme, banks are advised to lend to businesses they would be happy to lend to commercially, regardless of the guarantee from the Government. Syscap’s research found that just £93.1 million was made available ... »