The Summer Budget 2015: what do startups want to see?
George Osborne will once more get his little red suitcase and outline the new economic plan for the country on the 8th July. Tax cuts, welfare caps, and wages could all be on the agenda – but what do the UK’s start-ups and SMEs really want to see from the budget?
Lord Bilimoria is the founder and chairman of Cobra Beer, and the founding chairman of the UK-India business council. He believes that a priority for the budget should be focusing on manufacturing within the UK.
“One of the British economy's greatest deficits is in pride; we as a nation struggle to articulate the strengths of British industry to the world and this stunts our economic growth,” says Lord Bilimoria. “Britain has a number of bold strategies to boost our manufacturing exports to the wider world, including the UKTI’s GREAT Campaign, which so effectively showcased Britain’s vast food manufacturing industry at the Milan EXPO this year and is proven to yield phenomenal returns. The Treasury needs to do whatever it can to bolster these displays of pride in British exports by setting a target to raise the manufacturing sector’s share of UK GDP, which has dropped from 30 per cent to little over 10 per cent since the 1970s.”
It’s not just about what key business figures think, however; each and every business owner is affected by what’s outlined in the budget. We’ve asked some of our Virgin StartUp-funded businesses, covering a diverse range of industries, for the things they’re hoping to see.
Founder of T-Sticks of London – innovative tea ‘sticks’ that provide a mess-free alternative to teabags.
“I would love the Government to help support startups by cutting the red tape to incentivise large corporates to do business with SMEs, passing on the grants quickly to help our working capital position.
“I have worked with UKTI several times through funding marketing for exhibitions and trade shows, but it takes considerable time after the actual cost made to receive grants back. Doing more to address this would help with working capital. Obviously the companies we engage with to initiate grants could take a guarantee we fulfil our requirement, but the claiming process for the agency affects the SME’s time to receive payment.”
Co-founder of TextDater – a dating app that’s based on getting to know someone’s personality before making judgements based on looks.
"I would love to see more funds being directed towards tech and internet startups, as this sector seems to be having the toughest time securing funding from government schemes."
Founder of Lexie Sport – a high-performance sportswear brand for women that doesn’t compromise on style.
“I'd love to see more support for small businesses who manufacture in the UK."
Co-founder of SOAK Shakes & Co - all-natural dairy-free shakes made with handmade raw cashew and coconut milks.
"We'd love to see startup loans given to social enterprises with 0% interest for the first 12 months, and an initial £500 grant if one of the co-founders are under 25."
Founder of Gas-Sense – an app to measure the levels of natural gas in canisters for BBQs, portable cookers, and caravanners.
“I would really like to see some more emphasis on actual pragmatic support. Tax etc. are big issues for big business, but if you’re a startup, 12 months is too long to wait before tax breaks become helpful. Grant programs are totally inaccessible for startups because of the complexity, cash flow issues and the time they take to receive. I would like to see some more help for startups, particularly around IP and basic law. These are very expensive areas which are often out of reach for startups, but essential and neglecting them can cause people issues further down the road. So some startup-specific “grants” with a startup friendly process, targeted at specific areas, such as law, IP, manufacturing and design. Also, I’d like to see incentives for big business to support startups, such as the Microsoft BizSpark program or Virgin Trains discounts - reducing the costs of travel, software and office equipment can really give startups some breathing space.”
Founder of Designer Bear Boutique – creating handmade ‘keepsake’ gifts from outgrown children’s clothing and other fabrics with sentimental value.
“I'd love to see the local councils provide a trial retail scheme for startups - providing funding and no business rates to trial a small retail space that is sitting unused for 3 months, so a new business can see if high street retailing is the way to go in a low-risk way.”
Co-founder of Launchcloud – a way to gather data on and offline through customisable forms, enabling you to learn more about your customers.
"I would love to see more money allocated to tech apprenticeships. This would really stimulate tech Britain by helping early stage tech companies get the talent they need. This would also help students reach commercial standards quicker."