June 15, 2012
New bank for SMEs opens its doors
A new bank aimed at SMEs has been launched — at a time when many small firms are finding it difficult to secure finance. The Cambridge & Counties Bank is to target established small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs), offering loans secured against commercial property as well as a deposit account. It will also offer secured pension scheme lending, and has plans to launch professional firm financing, as well as savings accounts.
Small firms shine at the 2012 Queen’s Award for Enterprise
The winners of the 2012 Queen’s Awards for Enterprise were predominantly small firms, according to Business Minister Mark Prisk: “We’ve been very impressed by the entries to this year’s awards. Of the 209 winners, 180 are small and medium-sized businesses and almost half are from manufacturing. I encourage firms to get involved and submit their entries for next year’s awards.” Entry is open for the 2013 Queen’s Awards for Enterprise and will close on 28 September 2012.
Rude receptionists damage business reputation
Bad-mannered front of house staff are the main reason that almost half of professionals (48%) are put off from doing business with other companies, according to new research on service commissioned by serviced office operator Business Environment. In addition, 38% of businesses would be discouraged from working with other companies that have poorly presented staff.
Free support for social enterprise sector
A new national support service for the fast-growing social enterprise sector has been unveiled. Inspire2Enterprise has already been piloted in nine counties and is now being rolled out nationally by the University of Northampton and business performance specialists Exemplas. The service offers free guidance on starting up and managing a social enterprise. Initial support will be delivered free via telephone, email and online by specialist advisers. Additionally, paid for, face-to-face coaching, mentoring and training will be provided by a network of regional delivery partners.
Patent application to speed up as Fast Track system improves
The UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) has announced new measures to make the international system of patent application faster and more effective. The UK’s Fast Track system was launched in 2010 with the aim of getting business’ patents granted faster and more cheaply. Now the UKIPO has removed another bureaucratic hurdle, allowing applicants to make changes to an international application and still be able to accelerate processing in the UK.