This week, we’re looking at new figures that indicate a significant increase in the European trading market, allowing the EU to maintain a lead on such major trade destinations as China. In other news, there are fresh concerns over the cyber security of smaller businesses, and how this can affect the likelihood of getting a procurement contract.
Read on to find out the top recent stories and headlines for small and medium businesses this week.
Feature of the Week
Upcoming Spending Review calls on the Government to boost investment | Start Up Donut
Ahead of the Chancellor’s Spending Review and Autumn Statement on November 25th, the British Chambers of Commerce have called on the Government to focus on boosting investment, exports, training and infrastructure.
The BCC has called for three structural issues to be at the heart of George Osborne’s upcoming Spending Review:
- Fixing a “dysfunctional” business finance system;
- Delivering business infrastructure “fit for the modern age”, including investments in road and rail schemes, long term energy security and upgrading the UK’s digital infrastructure;
- Closing “worrisome” skills gaps, to help young people succeed in tomorrow’s workforce and enable businesses to compete on the global stage.
UK SMEs prefer Europe as trading destination | Smallbusiness.co.uk
New figures from World First show that more than £198 million was transacted into euros during the month of October, a 59% per cent increase from September.
This figure is more than 22 times the value of GBP that was sold into CNH (yuan) which stands at £7.25 million, highlighting the importance of Europe as a trading partner.
Jeremy Cook, chief economist at World First says that the latest trade numbers show that while China is increasingly becoming a trade destination for UK SMEs, Europe is still the preferred destination for business.
Cyber security worry for SMEs | Insider Media
Results from a survey have shown that 70% of respondents believe their suppliers could do more to protect their private data, despite the fact that 94% of procurement managers agreed that cyber security standards are important when awarding a contract to an SME.
“Cyber security is not just a technical issue anymore,” said George Quigley, Partner in KPMG’s cyber security practice, “It has become a business critical issue for the UK’s SMEs. Larger companies are placing an increased emphasis on the cyber security of their suppliers and increasingly the onus is on SMEs to show that they are tackling this issue head on.”
Virgin Media to support digital start-ups | Business Matters
Applications for the Virgin Media Accelerator Programme opened this week with companies being given until January 9th 2016 to apply.
The programme, launched by Virgin Media and Techstars, searches for the ten most innovative digital start-ups to take part in a three-month mentorship programme which will involve connecting the successful applicants with the investment, skills and expertise they need to become a leader in their field.
“Innovation and the infinite possibilities offered by a connected world lie at the very heart of our business, which is why we’re proud to partner with Techstars to launch the first ever Virgin Media Accelerator programme,” commented Bruce Dines, Vice President of parent company Liberty Global Ventures.
A software update from Spire Payments, one of the fastest growing point of sale (POS) providers in Europe, has corrupted tens of thousands of payment terminals and left many SMEs unable to accept electronic card payments, with small businesses fearing that the problem may not be resolved until late November.
Some customers have been told that Spire is shipping out 24,000 replacement terminals, but many small business owners have already purchased payment machines from rival companies, allowing competing terminal providers to cash in on Spire’s misfortune, offering short-term hire terminals that cost around £140 a week.