Small Business and Government: The Richard Report

This morning I caught the tail end of an interview with Doug Richard (the serial entrepreneur of Dragon’s Den fame). He was talking about how government support for small business was woefully inadequate, if not downright damaging. I found myself nodding in agreement and thinking what a smart chap John Hutton (Secretary of State for the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform – the old DTI) was for commissioning Doug to produce this report.

Imagine my surprise and dismay when I discovered that the report was actually commissioned by David Cameron and that Doug Richard had just chaired the Tories Small Business Task Force. The result is Small Business and Government: The Richard Report (PDF), of which I agree with almost everything.

That said since David Cameron has stolen so many of Labour’s ideas then I think John Hutton would be well within his rights and indeed very sensible to just get on with implementing the ideas in Doug Richard’s report.

Mending the business support system

Our Small Business Task Force, chaired by the Dragons’ Den judge, Doug Richard, has set out innovative proposals to overhaul the business support system.
Doug, a serial entrepreneur, described the current system, which involves over 3,000 different schemes run by 2,000 public bodies and their contractors, as “confusing and out of control”.
Around two-thirds of the £2.5 billion spent on the system goes on telling companies where to find advice.
Doug laid out a number of recommendations to improve the support given to businesses, including:
– Creating a single, national, web-based Business Information System
– Improving access to finance for SME’s
– Helping small businesses secure more Government contracts
– Overhauling enterprise education in schools.
Doug said, “These recommendations would enable the UK to once again become one of the best places in the world to do business.”

2 Replies to “Small Business and Government: The Richard Report

  1. blsewell – Lloyd Sewell started in business as an importer of golfing equipment (1988), while living in South Holland, areas of business services provided include; management consultancy to small firms, business diagnostic, business training, business strategy, e-business solutions and marketing for small firms. Extensive (IT) experience which began in (1970), has successfully set up (IT) training centres in the UK, Holland and Germany, other (IT) projects include the development and presentation of several training projects, including Business (IT) for start-up companies at the University of Greenwich. Critical success factors are based on supplying client’s needs, with innovative solutions that deliver business benefits. Treasurer of Thames Valley Small Business Club, member of a local authority action group, member of a government sponsored executive action program, instrumental in the planning and successful delivery of the first Black Lawyers Conference in London in year 2000 Project Background We identified the important need for the effective training of individuals and firms who wish to become suppliers to public sector agencies through our successfully delivered series of workshops (1998 – 2000). Programme refinement lead to SFEDI Endorsement in 2004 and a DTI Innovation Grant in 2005. Tendering for Contracts Training offers a comprehensive online programme that enables firms to tender for public and private sector contracts with confidence. Our training enables firms develop new revenue streams by effectively preparing them to engage in the tendering and contracting process.
    Lloyd Sewell says:


    I have just read this excellent report by Doug Richard.

    The government trumpets their business advice facilities and encourages would be entrepreneurs to visit these institutions for business advice.

    Yet the government at the same time – removes access to legal aid for civil cases.

    I totally agree with his comment that this government positively damages the business of small firms – namely myself.

    Having put all your money into starting your business and later discover that the promised help from the government business support agencies – would not now be provided – that they actually had stolen your business for their own gain – you find yourself with no leg to stand on.

    It has been (10) years since this morally indefendible act took place – since then all attempts at getting the government to take a responsible line in the matter – has failed – they have simply ignored my letters of complaint.

    Full details can be found at


    Lloyd Sewell

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