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Today the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and Accredited Chamber Network announced a long term commitment to help UK start-up firms become significantly more successful. The first service is a custom-built Business Start-Up Pack. The Pack was designed in response to feedback from start-up companies and specifically to solve common initial challenges faced. It also offers an unequalled bundle of products and services developed by the BCC in conjunction with a number of its commercial partners*. The Pack includes three years free business banking from RBS Group as well as instant tender alerts, exclusive telecommunications and mobility offers, free software trials, unbeatable discounts on products, half price Chamber membership and free legal advice just to name a few of the benefits**. Full details available at www.thebusiness-startup.co.uk.

It was frustration about the high number of start-up failures that led John Dunsmure, Managing Director of the BCC to do something radical to help these firms: “Encouraging entrepreneurship is high on everyone’s agenda but that is not enough – you have to match that commitment with practical support for start-up businesses in their critical first few years. I believe it is time for all the pro-enterprise talk to be matched by action. The BCC intends to use its knowledge, influence, contacts and network to make a major difference to the UK’s start-up businesses. Our Business Start-Up Pack is the first deliverable for this strategy.”

He continued: “I meet with businesses up and down the country all the time. Everywhere I went the story was the same - cash strapped new firms were spending too much money they could ill afford, on things they did not need, or buying the wrong equipment. There was no spare cash and when the going got tough so many had to fold. It is heart breaking to witness this especially when so many had such great potential. I was certain we had to act then but with the economy taking a turn for the worse it was crucial we moved quickly.”

Following the launch of the Business Start-Up Pack the BCC will add to its services in the coming months. Future services will include an online business networking and advice portal and a nationwide programme of Chamber Business Growth Clubs.

For more information on the BCC Business Start-Up Pack please visit the website www.thebusiness-startup.co.uk or email info@thebusiness-startup.co.uk.

For further media information or requests for interview please contact;
Judy Osborn, Purple Rabbit (on behalf of the BCC)
07834 602030
judy.osborn@purplerabbit.co.uk

Note to the editors:

About the British Chambers of Commerce

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) is the authentic voice of British businesses. The BCC sits at the heart of a powerful nationwide network of Accredited Chambers of Commerce serving business across the UK, which employ over five million people.

About RBS Group

RBS Group, which includes NatWest and RBS, are proud to be Britain's leading small business bank, with over one million small enterprise customers. That position has been earned because we have invested time and effort to understand the issues that matter to small firms. We have used this knowledge to develop products and services that meet their needs.

We believe in providing a full banking package for our customers, offering the widest range of practical benefits to support small businesses, from start up to stock market floatation. This support extends in all the important areas, not just financial.

NatWest and RBS business banking are committed to providing free face to face advice through locally based experienced managers, based across our network of 2,279 branches.

About AXA

AXA is a world leader in financial protection with major operations in Western Europe, North America and the Asia/Pacific area. AXA serves over 50 million customers throughout the world (individuals and businesses). In the UK AXA provides a range of products and services, including business insurance, home and motor insurance, investments, life assurance, retirement planning and asset management.

Its UK healthcare arm, AXA PPP healthcare, is one of Britain’s leading medical insurers and today helps companies to develop and introduce strategies to manage health at work through health audits, health screening and workplace health surveillance, medical and dental cover, and occupational health, attendance management and employee support services. For more information please visit www.axa.co.uk.

About Blackberry

A BlackBerry smartphone is a tool for people who know where they’re going in life. It provides convenient access to the information you need to act quickly and decisively, on a pocket-sized smartphone. Whether you’re a busy individual or a global business executive, a BlackBerry smartphone will win you the time to run your day more effectively. A BlackBerry solution keeps you in contact with clients, colleagues and friends using phone, instant messaging, or sms/mms. It also gives you access to your emails, organiser, business applications, the web, and much, much more. Whatever you need, a BlackBerry solution is right there when you need it."About Research In Motion (RIM)Research In Motion is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of innovative wireless solutions for the worldwide mobile communications market. Through the development of integrated hardware, software and services that support multiple wireless network standards, RIM provides platforms and solutions for seamless access to time-sensitive information including email, phone, SMS messaging, Internet and intranet-based applications. RIM technology also enables a broad array of third party developers and manufacturers to enhance their products and services with wireless connectivity to data. RIM’s portfolio of award-winning products, services and embedded technologies are used by thousands of organizations around the world and include the BlackBerry® wireless platform, the RIM Wireless Handheld™ product line, software development tools, radio-modems and software/hardware licensing agreements. Founded in 1984 and based in Waterloo, Ontario, RIM operates offices in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. RIM is listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market (Nasdaq: RIMM) and the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: RIM). For more information, visit www.rim.com or www.blackberry.com.

About BT

BT is one of the world’s leading providers of communications solutions and services operating in 170 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to our customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband and internet products and services and converged fixed/mobile products and services. BT consists principally of four lines of business: BT Global Services, Openreach, BT Retail and BT Wholesale.In the year ended 31 March 2008, BT Group plc’s revenue was £20,704 million with profit before taxation of £2,506 million. British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York. For more information, visit www.bt.com/aboutbt

About Dell

Dell Inc. (NASDAQ: DELL) listens to customers and delivers innovative technology and services they trust and value. Uniquely enabled by its direct business model, Dell is a leading global systems and services company and No. 34 on the Fortune 500. For more information, visit www.dell.com, or to communicate directly with Dell via a variety of online channels, go to www.dell.com/conversations. To get Dell news direct, visit www.dell.com/RSS.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/contactpr.mspx.

About Sage (UK) Limited and TAS Software

Sage (UK) Limited is a leading provider of business software and services to over 760,000 customers in the UK and Ireland. Sage provides UK businesses in all sectors with specific, scalable software and services to help them manage their finances, their people, their customers, their suppliers, their core operations and to plan their future business success. These offerings range from accounts, payroll, customer relationship management, forecasting, business intelligence & specialist markets to training, support, payment & advisory services – including specific help for start-ups.

TAS is a division of Sage in the UK. The TAS accounting and payroll software range spans from easy to use products for start-ups and sole traders to more comprehensive solutions for small and medium businesses. For more information, visit www.sage.co.uk or www.tassoftware.co.uk

About Xerox

Xerox Corporation is the world's leading document management technology and services enterprise. It provides the document industry's broadest portfolio of offerings. Digital systems include color and black-and-white printing and publishing systems, digital presses and "book factories," multifunction devices, laser and solid ink network printers, copiers and fax machines. Xerox's services expertise is unmatched and includes helping businesses develop online document archives, analyzing how employees can most efficiently share documents and knowledge in the office, operating in-house print shops or mailrooms, and building Web-based processes for personalizing direct mail, invoices, brochures and more. Xerox also offers associated software, support and supplies such as toner, paper and ink.

Footnotes:
*see notes to editors for full list of partners.
**subject to terms & conditions on individual offers. Visit www.thebusiness-startup.co.uk for more information.

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