Three business owners from the South and Vale Districts were part of a 16 strong select group of rural entrepreneurs invited to meet with Jimmy McLoughlin, one of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisers, at Number 10 Downing Street last week.
The business owners were asked to identify one practical thing they would like to see in a future Budget that would make it easier to start and grow a business, that Mr McLoughlin could take back to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Vale 4 Business selected award winner Richard Marsh from Faringdon based IT support company CIS. Richard’s company is currently implementing a tech solution which will be able to provide affordable broadband connections for rural businesses.
SO Business selected Sally White, director and co-founder of Thame based HR Consultancy SYLO Associates, to represent our views. Sally is one the first ambassadors from the fledgling SO Business Ambassador Programme, so was an ideal choice. Sally proposed that larger capital investment support should be made available to business, with a Government backed Angel Investment Scheme, and on the back of this, reduce the tax companies pay by reviewing the Entrepreneurs’ Tax Relief.
Also representing South Oxfordshire was Katrina Rowton-Lee, owner of luxurious rural B+B The Courtyard at Wainhill. Katrina believes that rural entrepreneurs should be given more help with finding support networks.
Other issues highlighted were business rates, connectivity and infrastructure problems, over-regulation, and help with exporting. Several issues that face businesses in the area are highlighted in the Vale4Business BIS Action Plan, including access to superfast broadband, sufficient space for businesses to grow, and addressing skills gaps.
Katrina said of the day, “It was an amazing experience and lovely to meet some other like minded individuals also facing some of the challenges of running a business ‘out in the sticks’”.
You can see the full list of attendees from Oxfordshire at Enterprise Nation‘s blog post, who facilitated the trip alongside our colleagues at OxLEP. Enterprise Nation is a community for small business with over 75,000 members, and a leading campaigning voice for small business.