Also in the news this week — 27th February 2015

More students starting up businesses at university

One in ten start-ups begin while their founders are still in education and the number of start-ups being founded by students has increased by 54% in the past 12 months. New research by PeoplePerHour also found that 37% of entrepreneurs met their co-founder at university. A lack of job opportunities for graduates was the motivation for 57% of undergraduates. Another 45% said they wanted to earn extra cash, while 34% said they had always planned to be their own boss. The biggest areas for the growth in young entrepreneurs are Bristol, London and Liverpool.

Small manufacturers bucking the trend

SMEs are defying the slowdown in manufacturing according to the latest MAS Manufacturing Barometer. It found that 59% of SMEs say turnover has increased in the past six months and 70% are expecting a further sales boost. A record high of 54% of firms are now planning to increase spend on new technology and half of firms are looking to recruit new staff. The biggest barrier to growth is the burden of regulation, followed by the pressure to pay higher salaries (34%) and securing finance or investment (33%).

Profit is not a dirty word says CBI

A YouGov poll of 2,000 UK adults for the CBI has found that although 70% of people think profit is a good thing, 71% say companies put profits before the needs of consumers. The CBI is calling on businesses to do more to explain the links between company success and benefits for consumers. Katja Hall, CBI deputy director-general, said: “We need to recalibrate this debate. Profits make employing people and investing in new products and services possible, in turn bringing huge long-run benefits to consumers. To boost trust, businesses must listen harder to understand and respond to their customers’ ever-evolving needs and expectations.”

IoD: zero hours contracts are a good thing

New figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show that there are almost 700,000 workers on zero hours contracts in the UK. Paul Kenny, general secretary of the GMB, said: “What employers are offering workers has seriously decreased while workers often have little alternative but to accept what is on offer.” However, the Institute of Directors (IoD) says zero hours contracts are good for the economy. Christian May, IoD head of communications and campaigns, said: “Despite efforts to portray all those on such contracts as exploited, the truth is that there are plenty of engineers, contractors and professionals whose willingness to be flexible adds significantly to their market value and, therefore, their earning power. A flexible labour market, of which zero hours contracts are a vital component, has protected the UK from European levels of unemployment.”

UK tech SMEs plan to expand in 2015

A third (32%) of small IT companies are planning to apply for funding in the new financial year to meet growth plans, according to a new survey by Crunch Accounting. Most are planning to approach traditional lenders, with 41% of business owners applying to banks and 42% applying to a finance institution, such as the First Enterprise Business Agency or regional community finance institutions. Crowdfunding is being used by 16% of businesses, while 26% are sourcing private investment. Less popular funding routes include borrowing from family and friends (13%) and government grants and support schemes (9%). However, many SME funding requests were rejected in the past year, including 25% of applications to banks.

New health and safety app

A new app to help small firms meet health and safety requirements has been developed by RNF Digital Innovation. The free Safety Wizard app is based on guidance from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Toolbox. The app gives users access to advice on common health and safety hazards and shows how to control risks in their workplace. The Safety Wizard is available on the Apple iTunes store.

via Business Feeds

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