BEIS Select Committee calls on Newable

Chris Manson, Newable’s CEO gave evidence to the BEIS (Business, Energy, Industrial Strategy) Committee last week. Chris was called as an expert witness for the inquiry into Small Businesses and Productivity.

Earlier this year, Newable submitted evidence to the BIES committee which can be viewed here.

Our CEO was then invited to expand on the ideas presented in the document at a session that took place at the Scale-up Institute.

Chris was joined on an evidence panel by Heather Dean, Head of Skills and Business Support, Bucks Business First, Mike Cherry OBE, FSB National Chairman, Prof Tim Vorley, Professor of Entrepreneurship, Associate Dean Impact, Innovation & Engagement, Sheffield University and Irene Graham, CEO, Scale-up Institute.

Chris advocated adopting a segmented approach to understanding the needs of small businesses, rather than treat all 5.7m as an homogeneous entity.

He said, “the example I always look at is Germany. It has a huge mittelstand of family-run businesses. I think the lesson to be drawn from that is a cultural one. A family-run business in Germany is seen as the paragon of good business practice whereas in the UK, rightly or wrongly, we tend to see big business as the paragon of good business practice.”

Chris reported that small businesses find it very difficult to source relevant business advice, not least as advice is provided by a myriad of public and private partners such as LEPs. This stands in contrast to “the programme that is run through the Department of International Trade, International Trade Advice, which has been running for 25 years … [if] one can expand it to a wider, general business advice, it has very deliverable outcomes. We advised 13,000 companies last year and delivered £2 billion worth of extra export sales in the London and South-East region alone. If we can translate that certainty of outcome into the kind of advice network we would look to put forward, that would be of benefit.”

Chris continued, “I think it is about having a consistency of national strategy that is then delivered. From my perspective, we see insufficient attention given to a national strategy and then having that delivered locally.”

The BEIS Select Committee will be reviewing all the evidence and preparing a report for Government with recommendations of how SMEs can be better supported to realise their potential. Newable will continue to champion the businesses operating at the heart of the economy.

The session transcript can be downloaded here.

The session video can be viewed here. Chris is featured at around the 40 min mark