Westminster Business Forum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7538736244 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7951044809.
For delegates already booked on, we will send you the online joining instructions (including links, event numbers and passwords) five working days before your conference. If you cannot find these in your inbox please email delegate.relations@forumsupport.co.uk

Priorities for supporting new businesses to start and scale up in the UK

Morning, Tuesday, 26th January 2021

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference will look at the key policy priorities for supporting start-ups and encouraging business growth in the UK.

It will be a timely opportunity to discuss progress in the Government’s aim of making the UK the best place in the world to start a business as set out in the Industrial Strategy - as well as extra support that start-ups may need in the wake of the pandemic and as the UK transitions from the EU.

We are delighted to be able to include a ministerial contribution from Paul Scully MP, Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets, Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, as well as keynotes from Alice Hu Wagner, Managing Director, Strategy, Economics and Business Development, British Business Bank; and Emma Jones, Founder, Enterprise Nation.

The discussion is bringing together stakeholders with key policy officials who are due to attend from BEIS; the IPO and The Scottish Government, as well as representatives from the APPG on Fair Business Banking.

The agenda:

  • Policy priorities for supporting new entrepreneurs and economic growth
  • What entrepreneurs want - how policymakers can support small business
  • Developing future entrepreneurs - education, mentoring, and wellbeing
  • Access to finance and supporting diversity
  • Tackling key challenges to starting and scaling up businesses in the UK - investment, business support, and mitigating the impact of the pandemic and transition from the EU

A scan of relevant developments:

  • £40m boost for cutting-edge start-ups - announced by the Government for innovative businesses and start-ups to bring forward new technological advances in response to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • £134m boost to help UK businesses build back greener - Government package to support pioneering businesses with clean growth projects - as part of the Government’s commitment, set out in its UK Research and Development Roadmap in July, to support entrepreneurs and SMEs with scaling up innovations
  • Bounce Back Loans - the Federation of Small Businesses calling for further support from Government and banks to help small businesses access finance, following a number of SMEs struggling to access BBLs, after banks closed the loans early to new applicants
  • 16.6m UK jobs at risk if entrepreneurs and SMEs cannot sustain their businesses - King’s Business School finding that two thirds of entrepreneurs believe their business won’t survive the pandemic and that the same number expect trading to worsen in the run up to the end of the UK transition period
  • Innovate UK launches new 3-year programme for Young Innovators - in partnership with The Prince’s Trust
  • the Alison Rose Review - latest report showing progress in advancement of women in business, but despite the UK leading Europe in start-up capital only one in three UK entrepreneurs is female
  • business failures - reports of an increase in the number of start-ups filing for administration and government support through the pandemic coming to an end
  • Alone together: Entrepreneurship and diversity in the UK - the findings from the British Business Bank on disparities in business outcomes for Black, Asian and other ethnic minority entrepreneurs

The discussion at a glance:

  • transition from the EU - implications for start-ups including immigration policy and access to skills and finance, export barriers and import costs, business partner relocation, and research funding
  • COVID-19 support - the impact of measures introduced by the Government to support small businesses and enable them to access funding, as a record numbers of startups are reported to have filed for administration since the start of the pandemic
  • creating the conditions for entrepreneurship - what further support for business start-ups and scale-ups is needed from government in the areas of access to finance, protecting intellectual property, taxation measures, and wider business support
  • enterprise education:
    • in mainstream education through projects such as the Enterprise Education and Research Project Fund
    • progress made since the Rose Review’s call for the business community to increase the resources available to education providers to teach about starting a business
    • how the role that universities play as incubators for student and graduate entrepreneurs might be expanded
  • diversity - latest thinking on how female entrepreneurs, and people from ethnic minorities and other under-represented backgrounds, can be better supported to start and grow businesses

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places at this conference have been reserved by parliamentary pass-holders from the APPG on Fair Business Banking, and officials from BEIS; the Intellectual Property Office and The Scottish Government.

Overall, we expect speakers and other participants to be a senior and informed group including Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior government and regulatory officials involved in this area of policy, BEIS, the Department for Work and Pensions and other relevant Departments and regulatory bodies along with finance providers, advisors and those providing further forms of support to start-up businesses, representatives of the SME and the wider business community, innovators and entrepreneurs, legal and other advisors, local authorities and community groups, trade bodies, HEIs and skills providers, academics and commentators, together with reporters from the national and specialist media.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speakers

Paul Scully MP

Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets, Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

Alice Hu Wagner

Managing Director, Strategy, Economics and Business Development, British Business Bank

Emma Jones

Founder, Enterprise Nation


Dr Inge Hill,

Director, Enterprise Educators UK; and Associate Head, Research, Enterprise and Knowledge Exchange, School of Business and Entrepreneurship, Royal Agriculture University

Julie Kapsalis

Chair, Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership

Dina Grishin

Life & Career Coach, Dina Grishin Coaching

Professor Ute Stephan

Professor of Entrepreneurship, King’s College London

Juliet Rogan

Head of High Growth & Entrepreneurs, Barclays