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RDAs Welcome Support for Enterprise in Today’s Budget

12 March 2008

The Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) welcome the Government’s new measures to support business which are outlined in the Enterprise Strategy announced today by the Chancellor.

SEEDA Chief Executive, Pam Alexander, speaking on behalf of all the RDAs, said: "We welcome the announcement in today’s budget to review and reform the regulatory framework, in particular, to reduce the unnecessary burden on small firms. This will address issues which we know are priorities for business. RDAs are organisations which listen to businesses in our regions, and lobby Government on their behalf. I am delighted at the emphasis placed on encouraging more people to start and grow their businesses with a focus on under-represented groups."

The RDAs will be piloting key schemes with Government to support enterprise growth – including targeted support for women, young people and the over 50s. One key element of this is the creation of a Women’s Investment Fund that Government committed £12.5 million to today, with the aim of supporting a total of £25 million. The Fund will focus primarily on investing in women-led businesses and will provide increased networking support to other sources of finance.

The RDAs will also be piloting Women’s Business Centres, learning from the successful US model. This will enable us to build on the foundations of regional Women’s Enterprise strategies by encouraging and supporting more women to set up and grow their businesses. The first national Enterprise Academy in Slough, founded by Peter Jones, with match funding from Government, will help young people to gain enterprise skills. The Academy will be followed by another centre in the North West followed by a roll out of satellite academies.

The RDAs welcome the Strategy’s commitment to taking forward the new initiatives within the emerging Business Support Simplification Programme. This enhances the core role of Business Link as the primary access channel to business support. The RDAs have proved their credentials for running regionally delivered support programmes such as Business Link, and the Enterprise Strategy is both an endorsement of this work and an opportunity to build on this to stimulate enterprise within the South East region.

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