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Press notice: issued on behalf of the Genesis Initiative

Small businesses have a major part to play in bringing positive economic reform in the UK, in Europe and throughout the world.

That was the message from organisations representing the small business community, academics, entrepreneurs, Members of the All Party Parliamentary Small Business Group and politicians at their first National Genesis Initiative Conference at the House of Commons this week (Monday, April 28, 2003).

The focus of the conference was ‘SMEs – the Force for Economic Reform’ and to advocate policies to encourage the growth of SMEs and create a climate in which they can reach their full potential. Opening the conference, HRH Prince Michael of Kent described it as an opportunity for the UK to ‘blue print our successes’.

Speakers representing a range of organisations gathered to build on the commitment to economic reform as agreed in the Lisbon agenda. The objective of the conference was to outline the action for delivering the best environment for small businesses to meet their full potential and take advantage of increasing opportunities from an extended Europe and global economy.

The main themes to emerge as the Genesis Initiative firmed up its direction for the future were:

· Stability: small businesses look to Government to provide a stable environment in terms of the economy and the regulations;

· Regulations: small businesses recognise the need for some regulations but they should be clear and sensible rather than a barrier or bottle-neck;

· Representation: while small businesses have their own focused representative groups, they do benefit from having a broader and more powerful voice, which the Genesis Initiative promotes;

· UK blue print (1): the UK has a more mature small business and freelance sector than many other countries, which makes the UK well-placed to take advantage of opportunities from an extended European market place;

· UK blue print (2): the UK model for small business consultation and development is an example to the rest of Europe;

· Operating environment: small businesses in the UK have a better operating environment than many other countries, although there is still room to improve this.

Also of significance for the future was the emergence of a format to allow greater consultation and representation between the small business community and the political decision-makers.

· The All Party Parliamentary Small Business Group is the largest All Party Group in Parliament with some 441 MPs and Lords in a cross Party organisation to represent the small businesses in their constituencies or to demonstrate their commitment to small businesses.

· The Genesis Senate, comprising small business organisations and academics, also showed that the representative bodies have many common areas where they can come together to represent their members more effectively in a larger arena.

Notes to Editors

1. The Genesis Initiative National SME Conference was sponsored by HSBC; Grant Thornton; Lloyds TSB; Pelicans Manufacturing Co Ltd; Small Business Service; alldayPA; and

2. The programme sessions were:

Welcome to participants by HRH Prince Michael of Kent, Royal Patron of the Genesis Initiative. Chairman Michael Campbell DL

The Genesis Initiative – Setting the Scene: John May and Professor John Stanworth

Dennis Turner, Chief Economist UK, HSBC. Chairman The Lord Randall of St Budeaux, Chairman of the Genesis Initiative,

Empowering SMEs in the UK: Nigel Griffiths, Small Business Minister. Chairman Kerry Pollard JP MP.

Empowering SMEs in Europe. Herr Hans Werner Muller, General Secretary UEAPME. Chairman Lord Harrison of Chester

Access to Finance – An Overview. Prof Robert Blackburn. Chairman Nick Goulding.

The Senate: The view of the organisations representing SMEs. Chairman: Khalid Aziz. Participants are representatives from Federation of Small Businesses; Institute of Directors; The Forum of Private Business; National Federation of Enterprise Agencies; Forum for the Future; and the Ethnic Minority Business Forum.

The All Party Parliamentary Small Business Group – Empowering SMEs. Kerry Pollard JP MP; Mark Prisk MP; Brian Cotter MP. Chairman Lord Weatherill.

The European Charter for Small Enterprises: Paula Duarte Gaspar, Administrator, Enterprise DG, The European Commission, Brussels. Chairman: Sir Stephen Wall

SMEs in the 21st Century Reuben Singh,, Chairman of the Genesis Patrons Enterprise Club. Chairman: Mark Prisk MP

Empowering Information Technology to Work for SMEs. Chairman: Andy White – Shout99.

Open Forum on Economic Reform: Chairman John May FCA

3. For further information or interviews, please contact Susie Hughes on 0207 462 7955 or email

April 30, 2003

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