New Fund Launched to Increase Small Business’ Productivity

Investment of £1.5m announced by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills to close productivity gap in Britain’s small enterprises

New Fund Launched to Increase Small Business’ Productivity

The UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) has announced a £1.5m investment for projects to develop leadership and entrepreneurial skills in small businesses – after research revealed that productivity levels are almost 20% lower in Britain compared to other developed economies.

The fund, which was publicised today (March 19th), is part of the UKCES’s UK Future Programme and will enable ‘anchor’ groups to bid for up to £200,000 for their project, with each group required to invest some additional finance. Each successful scheme will begin in August of this year and run for 12 months.

These ‘anchor’ groups must be organisations with a strong presence who make a strategic contribution to their local economy and they will be expected to make proposals that demonstrate new ways to support the development of small businesses’ leaderships and entrepreneurial skills.

The investment is mainly for ‘anchor’ institutes, which includes banks, colleges, universities, major employers and chambers of commerce, that are situated in areas where productivity levels are below average. The announcement be welcome news to many small firms after a recent report by the Centre for Enterprise and Development found that small companies who prioritise productivity witness an increase in growth and sales.

The commissioner at UKCES, Julie Kenny CBE DL, commented on the new co-investment fund:

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, but current figures indicate that only a third of small firms providing any management training, compared to nearly three-quarters of larger firms.

“This competitive fund has been designed to work with anchor institutions – those who can reach a wide number of small firms in their region and deliver insightful programmes. We are looking for innovative ideas that can be tested and trialled with small businesses, to develop these essential skills that will help them to prosper and increase productivity in their local community.”

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