Ewan Edwards, Head of Savings, talks about backing Britain's businesses and how that led to the evolution of the #SupportMoreEntrepreneurs campaign.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself, your role and involvement with this campaign?
I joined Aldermore Bank in 2015, due to having a passion for finance and the appeal to work for a company that’s forward-thinking and one that supports businesses, which aligns neatly with my personal values. In my current role, I’m responsible for personal and business savings.
At Aldermore, we believe in backing Britain’s ‘Go Getters’ people with the energy and spirit to turn their ideas and dreams in reality - which is why we’ve created our ‘Support More Entrepreneurs’ campaign. As a company, we’re all passionate about making it that little bit easier for those with great ideas to get started and to be able to maintain and develop their business.
We’re calling on the Government to make this happen by proposing two new schemes to help SMEs; ‘The Entrepreneur ISA’ and the ‘Small Business Savings Allowance’, both of which provide the backing and support in the areas where start-ups and SMEs need a financial kick-start.
We believe an Entrepreneur ISA could follow a similar model to the Help-to-Buy:ISA that’s been helping first-time buyers get their foot on the property ladder. In other words, allowing people to save tax efficiently towards their new business venture with the added incentive of a government bonus on top. The bonus would be capped at £3,000.
A Small Business Savings Allowance which allows sole traders and small businesses to earn up to £4,000 of interest from savings, tax-free every year.
As part of the campaign I’ll be meeting with MP’s, Ministers, business groups, journalists as well as SMEs and Entrepreneurs themselves. We’re looking to continue our research this year to fully understand how SMEs and future Entrepreneurs need support to aid growth.
What motivated Aldermore to kick-off this campaign, and what can we realistically hope to achieve?
From our own customer base, we know that SMEs have particular struggles, that we felt should be addressed. We therefore conducted extensive research, which showed some key findings:
We created two propositions that would support both future Entrepreneurs as well as helping existing SMEs - an ‘Entrepreneur ISA’ and a ‘Small Business Savings Allowance’.
At a time of real economic uncertainty, it’s critical that the Government looks to support entrepreneurs as well as helping existing SMEs to grow and meet the challenges of tomorrow – they are the life blood of the economy
Ultimately it’s up to the Government to decide whether to turn these ideas into reality. Saying that, we know from our research that there’s a market and need for the products and by speaking to MPs, business groups, journalists and SME’s, showing our support and getting their endorsement, we believe it’s a realistic prospect.
Who are the people that need to take notice and listen to ensure this campaign has a big impact?
Key influencers such as politicians and business groups – with their support it’s possible to move these propositions forward, which is why we’ve taken on the role to speak on behalf of SME’s and campaign to support them.
We would like everyone to take note of the ‘Support More Entrepreneurs’ campaign. Everyone knows a small or medium-sized business owner whether it’s a member of family, friend or someone who has carried out work in your house. We would like Britain to show their support for SME’s.
We’ve created a microsite (www.supportmoreentrepreneurs.com), which includes a petition, real-life case studies that support the creation of the products and a small film to show how the propositions would work.
A big part of this petition is focused on supporting business savings – why is this crucial to existing businesses?
All businesses – from large to small – need money to help them start-up and to make them resilient when times are tough. The ‘Small Business Savings Allowance’ would allow SMEs to keep the interest on their business savings free from tax. This will contribute to supporting this crucial sector of the economy.
The Government showed its intent towards personal savers in 2016 with the establishment of a Personal Savings Allowance, where individuals receive up to £1,000 of their interest tax-free; we believe it is now time to apply the same principle to SMEs.
Do you have anything else to add?
Just to reiterate that the more people that show their support for this campaign - by signing the petition - the greater the chance we can convince the Government of the need for change. So please sign up today!
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