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UK.gov to pour £200m into pockets of small biz

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

Under-fire UK business secretary Vince Cable has launched the government's new £200m "GrowthAccelerator" programme to help small businesses with the potential to do well to actually do well.

Meanwhile, Cable was branded a "socialist" by Tory donor and Downing Street advisor Adrian Beecroft on Wednesday, in his report on business bureaucracy.

Despite the jibe, the business secretary was out and about to snip the ribbon, so to speak, on the programme, which has been in the works for a while, at cloud-based collaboration and content management company Huddle in London. The venue was chosen because Huddle, according to the department of business, is one of the "trailblazers" taking part in GrowthAccelerator.

To be in with a chance of bagging a slice of that £200m pie, "ambitious" SMEs will have to hit one of three targets. They'll need to have 10 or more employees with the potential to increase turnover or staff by 20 per cent a year for three years, or have fewer than 10 workers but have the potential to increase employment by at least seven or annual turnover by £750,000, or they need to be start-ups with the potential to reach a turnover of £1m or 10 workers in three years.

The lucky few will then be coached on issues including how to get financing, how to turn ideas into money and how to develop their leadership and management skills. They'll also be fast-tracked to business advice from the likes of UK Trade and Investment and to networks including Angel Investors.

“GrowthAccelerator is an exciting new programme that is at the heart of the government’s commitment to help businesses deliver growth by increasing their chance of gaining access to finance and spurring innovation," Cable opined in a canned statement.

"The £200 million programme will deliver high quality coaching to a range of businesses that will help them grow and give the economy a real boost."

The programme has been knocking around for a while, and was previously known as the Business Coaching for Growth programme, which was clearly not a snazzy enough name. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

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