Press Releases

HISTORIC PRESS RELEASE : Help for the next generation of budding entrepreneurs – Gordon Brown and Stephen Timms set out measures to help entrepreneurs in deprived areas [December 1999]

The press release issued by HM Treasury on 2 December 1999.

A package of measures to help entrepreneurs succeed in deprived areas was set out today by the Chancellor Gordon Brown and the Financial Secretary Stephen Timms.

The package is designed to ensure that enterprise is opened up to everyone in the UK. However, it is clear that many entrepreneurs in deprived areas have been barred from access to finance, support and advice.

To ensure that entrepreneurs from deprived areas have access to the managerial and business training they need to succeed, Stephen Timms set out details of a new management scholarship. The details are:

  • the scholarships will be aimed specifically at entrepreneurs from deprived areas;
  • initially, up to 200 scholarships will be available;
  • allow budding entrepreneurs access to top class business and management education to equip them with the skills needed to turn their ideas into thriving businesses;
  • in partnership with business, the Government plans to offer up to £20,000 of start-up funding to the most promising scholars (the top 10-20) to get their businesses off to a flying start.

Commenting on the scholarships Mr Timms said:

“People in deprived areas have the ideas and business acumen to succeed but they are deprived of the opportunity to put them into practice. The Government wants to ensure enterprise is open to all.

“This will ensure that Britain benefits fully from the entrepreneurial potential of people and businesses whatever their background and wherever they are.”

This is only one of the measures announced in the Pre-Budget report that aim to open up enterprise to all.

Speaking later tonight at the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards Dinner, the Chancellor will say:

“We want to ensure that young people receive positive messages about enterprise throughout their education and acquire more entrepreneurial skills.”

Commenting on the scholarships scheme Richard Branson said:

“Entrepreneurs are the drivers of innovation and the providers of future wealth and employment. We must do all we can to support them, so I welcome these new scholarships. They will give the management and business training people need to turn their ideas into reality.”

Professor Andrew Lock – Chairman of the association of Business Schools and the Business Schools Small Firms Advisory Group, Pro-Vice Chancellor of Manchester Metropolitan University also welcomed the intention to establish these scholarships:

“The commitment to help entrepreneurs is essential if we are to support these individuals in achieving their business aims. I and other members of the Business Schools Small Firms Advisory group, look forward to working with the Government in developing these scholarships, which we feel will be a significant step in providing entrepreneurs with the skills they need to succeed.”

Other measures involve schools and businesses developing a new enterprise culture among young people. This includes a £10 million package of measures starting nest year which include:

  • £5 million to improve the network which brings school and businesses together;
  • £3 million to improve that quality of work experience for 14-15 year olds and the quality of teacher placements in business; and
  • £2 million to help double the number of young people involved in enterprise programmes such as Young Enterprise and Understanding Industry to around 200,000 by summer 2001.

At the dinner the Chancellor also set out measures to encourage businesses from deprived areas to succeed. These will include a £30 million programme – the Phoenix Fund – which will promote better access to advice, support and finance for businesses in deprived areas. The Fund will involve:

  • a new Development Fund to promote innovative ways of supporting enterprise in deprived areas such as business incubator units; and
  • funding for local finance intermediaries to provide micro-finance for enterprises. These organisations act as intermediaries between mainstream finance and entrepreneurs in deprived areas.
  • A national network of mentors is also to be established to give help, encouragement and face to face contact to entrepreneurs.

The Chancellor will also say:

“To encourage new businesses, it is essential we harness the talents of all our citizens. We are determined to ensure that there are more and new successful businesses in our least well-off communities.”