Jonathan Reynolds appointed as new business minister amid calls for SME support

Jonathan Reynolds has been named the UK’s new Business Minister following Labour’s victory in the General Election. With the Labour Party’s ambitious pre-election promises to support small businesses, all eyes are now on Reynolds to deliver on these commitments and drive economic growth.

This appointment comes amid growing anticipation and expectations from various business groups, particularly the National Enterprise Network (NEN), which represents micro and small businesses across the country.

Prior to the election, Labour had laid out an ambitious plan to back small businesses, recognising them as “not just the lifeblood of our communities but essential to our economic success.” Now, as Keir Starmer unveils his new cabinet, the NEN is urging Reynolds to expedite the implementation of this small business agenda to stimulate national growth.

The NEN recently published its Policy Report, *Harnessing the Economic Potential of Our Small and Micro Businesses*, outlining key steps for the new government. These steps focus on finance, education, social value, and levelling the playing field for minoritised communities. The report’s recommendations include making the UK the best place to start and scale-up businesses by improving access to finance, boosting small business exports through a comprehensive trade strategy, addressing late payment issues, opening public contracts to small businesses, and creating Skills England to tackle skill shortages.

Alex Till, Chair of the NEN, highlighted the critical role of small businesses in the UK economy: “It is clear that over the last decade, entrepreneurs, start-ups, and micro businesses have largely been overlooked with no direct strategy in place from the government. The UK’s micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises account for 50% of the country’s GDP, 50% of its growth, 75% of its innovation, and a third of its jobs.”

Till emphasised the need for the new government to harness the potential of the SME economy not just for national growth but also for local community regeneration, delivering the necessary skills, jobs, investment, and social cohesion.

The NEN’s policy report, based on research from its network of Enterprise Support Organisations, provides a roadmap for addressing skills gaps and the needs of emerging and existing businesses through training, learning opportunities, one-on-one advice, and mentoring.

As Jonathan Reynolds takes on his new role, the business community will be watching closely to see how he addresses these pressing issues and delivers on the promises made by his party.