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Written Statement - Micro-Business Task and Finish Group Report

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Edwina Hart, Minister for Business, Enterprise, Technology and Science

I am today publishing the advisory report prepared and submitted to me by the Micro-Business Task and Finish Group I set up in September 2011 under the Chairmanship of Robert Lloyd Griffiths, Director Wales, Institute of Directors. 

The Task and Finish Group objective was to provide me with advice and recommendations on the development and implementation of a Micro-Business Strategy for Wales. 

As part of its deliberations the Group have identified five key priorities with recommendations to support development of a Welsh Government micro-business policy and strategy as outlined below:

Priority - Awareness and access of business support services for Micro Business

The recommendations underpinning this priority are to streamline and reduce the number of public sector deliverers of business support; to proactively promotes access and awareness to business support services, to create a single well recognised brand for access to business support (public / private), to develop a network of ‘One Stop Shops’ for micro-businesses to receive direct / indirect support across Wales and to expand and redirect the current Regional Centre Service to deliver a One Stop Shop concept for micro-businesses in Wales.

Priority - Access to finance

The recommendations underpinning this priority are to facilitate accessible finance solutions of between £1,000 and £20,000 for micro-businesses that are simple and reflect the level of investment required and to support micro businesses to access appropriate finance options.

Priority: Mentoring and coaching:

The recommendation underpinning this priority is to develop a pan-Wales mentoring and coaching scheme to support micro-businesses.

Priority: Public Sector Procurement

The recommendations underpinning this priority are to simplify public sector procurement processes and regulations, to introduce a Wales bill on Public Sector Procurement, to establish a Procurement Commission/Commissioner for Wales, to encourage local sourcing as part of public sector procurement, to encourage micro-businesses to consider consortia approaches to public sector procurement and to initiate smaller contracts to attract micro-business to tender.

Priority: Regulatory burden

The recommendations underpinning this priority are to lobby for change in non-devolved matters - in addition to regulations that affect micro-businesses, to communicate where the responsibilities of regulatory burden sits, to simplify regulations within Welsh Government power (across all department) to make it easier for micro-business to sustain and grow their business and to establish support for micro-businesses with regulations that impact on their business e.g. health and safety, taking on staff and planning.

The full report is attached for reference. The full report will be available on the Business.wales.gov.uk following the launch of the report at 11.30 a.m. on 18 January 2011. The report will be accessible by following www.business.wales.gov.uk/microbusiness 

I welcome the report and I will now be considering and responding to the recommendations.  I have agreed with the Chair that an implementation strategy will be drawn up.