In my role as Small Business Ambassador for London, I was delighted to welcome the Prime Minister, Karren Brady and the Minister for Business and Skills, Matthew Hancock MP to Brentford to meet just some of the great small businesses we have locally.

The purpose of the visit was to hear about their achievements and challenges and discuss what more the Government can do to support them to be successful.

We started the visit at Lot’s Ait Boatyard where the Prime Minister met John Watson from John’s Boat Works who has transformed the boat yard that had fallen into disrepair into a thriving community of small businesses. In addition to John’s boat building and maintenance, the Boat Works is also home to many skilled craftspeople including a fashion designer, restorer of vintage aircraft, a marine engineer and someone who custom builds acoustic guitars!

The Prime Minister then had the opportunity to take a stroll through Brentford Dock to join a round-table discussion with local women entrepreneurs at Time Café.  The session was chaired by Karren Brady CBE who is the Small Business Ambassador for the Conservative Party and Matt Hancock MP.

Mary Macleod (second left) with PM David Cameron (centre)
 

It was great to be able to bring the Prime Minister to Brentford to see how the regeneration of the area is progressing and to hear firsthand about some of the successes and hurdles being faced by small businesses locally.

The Government has already done much to support small businesses by capping business rates, cutting £2,000 from National Insurance bills for businesses from April 2014 and making it easier to access support in one place at www.gov.uk . However, as we heard during the visit, there is more we can do to cut through the red tape and make it easier for small businesses to take on their first employee.

I firmly believe that small businesses are the key driver of future growth for the UK economy. Small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) make up 99% of the 4.8 million businesses in the UK (4.75 million). The latest unemployment figure stands at 2.32 million. So if half of the UK’s SMEs took on just one employee each there would be no unemployment!