ICAEW.com works better with JavaScript enabled.

Government aims for Year of the SME in 2024

Author: ICAEW Insights

Published: 07 Mar 2024

The UK government has relaunched the Help to Grow campaign, which offers resources to help SMEs get started, devise growth strategies and identify funding options.

The government has declared 2024 the Year of the SME, acknowledging the essential role that small businesses play in the UK economy, collectively supporting 27 million jobs and contributing £4.5trn in annual turnover.

To support this vital part of the UK economy, the government has relaunched its Help to Grow campaign offering resources to help SMEs get started, devise growth strategies and identify funding options. The government says the campaign supports its goal of making the UK the premier destination for starting and growing businesses.

Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch highlighted the importance of small businesses to both the local and national economy: “Small businesses are the lifeblood of our local communities and drive the UK’s economy, supporting jobs and wages across the country.”

Small Business Council

Together with a newly launched Help to Grow website, the government has also set up the Small Business Council, which brings together representatives from small businesses together with small business organisations including Small Business Britain and the Federation of Small Businesses founders to debate the issues they face.

Kevin Hollinrake, Chair of the Small Business Council and Small Business Minister, said: "We’re giving small firms a big voice, so they can directly air their concerns to government without delay – only when we work together can we tackle some of the burning issues SMEs are facing; only then can we help boost jobs and grow the economy.”

Simon Gray, ICAEW’s Head of Business, said providing small businesses with a one-stop shop of resources as part of the relaunch of Help To Grow was good news for small businesses: “The complexity of starting and growing a business can be daunting, which makes this central portal extremely important.

“These have been challenging times for small businesses, and this renewed recognition of their importance to growth and economic prosperity is welcome. The success of the renewed campaign will rest on highlighting stories about those who have accessed Help To Grow resources and achieved success.”

Julianne Ponan MBE, owner and CEO of Creative Nature and a member of the Council, praised the Department for Business and Trade's role in enabling international expansion: “Through their support, we participated in trade exhibitions such as Gulfood under the Great British Pavilion, where we successfully generated significant business opportunities.”

To bolster support for small business, the government is also tackling the problem of late payments, following the Prompt Payment and Cash Flow Review which was launched in December 2022. Following the review, the report was published in November 2023, and the government is now looking at how to prosecute large firms who persistently and knowingly fail to adhere to the Payment Practice Reporting Regulations.

Meanwhile, it is hoped that a business rates package worth £4.3bn over the next five years will rejuvenate high streets. The government has also extended the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Rates Relief Scheme for an estimated 230,000 businesses, and frozen the small business multiplier for another year, which will save the average independent pub more than £13,000.

Help To Grow will incorporate the Lilac Review, in collaboration with Small Business Britain. Launched in February, this review aims to pinpoint the challenges encountered by disabled-led businesses in the UK and formulate an action plan to eliminate these barriers. A final report will be shared at the end of 2025.

ICAEW Manifesto

ICAEW sets out its vision for a renewed and resilient UK, drawing on insights and expertise from its members.

Manifesto 2024: ICAEW's vision for a renewed and resilient UK

Discover more from ICAEW Insights

Insights showcases news, opinion, analysis, interviews and features on the profession with a focus on the key issues affecting accountancy and the world of business.

Podcast icon
Insights Podcast

Hear a panel of guests dissect the latest headlines and provide expert analysis on the top stories from across the world of business, finance and accountancy.

Find out more
Two people looking at a laptop
ICAEW Business Advice Service (BAS)

BAS connects entrepreneurs, start-ups, and small and medium-sized businesses with ICAEW regulated accountancy firms who will provide a free initial consultation without obligation.

Find out more
ICAEW Community
Marta Pacheco
Small and Micro Business Community

Whether you work with small businesses or run your own, practical resources to help at every stage of the business journey.

Join the Community
Open AddCPD icon

Add Verified CPD Activity

Introducing AddCPD, a new way to record your CPD activities!

Log in to start using the AddCPD tool. Available only to ICAEW members.

Add this page to your CPD activity

Step 1 of 3
Download recorded
Download not recorded

Please download the related document if you wish to add this activity to your record

What time are you claiming for this activity?
Mandatory fields

Add this page to your CPD activity

Step 2 of 3
Mandatory field

Add activity to my record

Step 3 of 3
Mandatory field

Activity added

An error has occurred
Please try again

If the problem persists please contact our helpline on +44 (0)1908 248 250