There has been a rising tide of interest in Britain's small business community in recent years, with government, independent organisations and educators all recognising the contribution SMEs make to UK society.
Of course, behind this growing network of support are a handful of driven individuals working to create better opportunities for the UK's entrepreneurial minds to take their business to the next level. Whether by influencing policy, sharing knowledge or facilitating valuable connections between businesses, these figures are helping to launch the ambitious growth businesses of tomorrow.
Aldermore have identified four figures whose actions are likely to have far-reaching consequences for SMEs in 2014.
John Allan, Honorary National Chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses
"I feel 2014 is going to be the year of small business," Federation of Small Businesses National Chairman John Allan wrote in an article published earlier this week on the body's upcoming plans. 2014 marks forty years of the FSB, the largest campaigning group for small business rights in the UK, and Allan has announced intentions to challenge government on common SME issues including business rates, access to finance and utilities costs.
Karren Brady, Government's Small Business Ambassador
Announced as the new Small Business Ambassador during the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, Karren Brady represents a unique touch-point between small businesses and government. With first-hand experience of turning around a business, a vocal media presence and ties with UK business leaders, Brady is in a strong position to understand and communicate the needs of the SME community.
Alison White, Editor of the Guardian Small Business Network
As editor of the Guardian's Small Business Network, Alison White is charged with bringing the latest news and expert opinion to Britain's small business community, creating a free resource SMEs can turn to for advice on growing their business. Through regular live Q&A sessions and surveys, The Guardian has also become a key portal for SMEs to connect and share experiences.
Chuka Umunna Shadow Business Secretary
Chuka Umunna was one of the most prominent political champions of the first ever UK Small Business Saturday, held in December, which aimed to raise public awareness on the value of SMEs. The initiative received an impressive reception in its first year, gaining support from Aldermore and a number of other businesses, and is hoped to gain momentum over the next few years, as has been the case for its US counterpart.
Which SME champions do you expect to have a positive impact on conditions for small businesses in 2014? Leave a comment on Twitter, to share your suggestions with other members of the SME community.
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