Tuesday, 20 July 2010

The Entrepreneurs of South Thanet

As we navigate our way out of the nation’s very difficult economic situation, one of the most important group of people to ensure recovery will be today’s and tomorrow’s small business entrepreneurs. We need to support them.

Having set up both my small businesses in the middle of recessions I know what a leap of faith it is to set up shop and launch yourself on the consumer when things look tough out there. But locally there are people with passion and belief in what they do, and last weekend I was thrilled to be at the opening of two exciting businesses that I believe will have a real future – a marvellous cafe in Ramsgate in Spencer Square and a very special and large farm shop just outside Wingham run by the Gibson family.

With the importance of small businesses in mind, the Government is also there -- providing incentives which small businesses so badly need. Tax for small businesses has been reduced to 20%, we are doubling the level of small business rate relief and more than half a million businesses in England are expected to benefit, with approximately 345,000 businesses paying no rates. And by stopping Labour’s National Insurance hike for businesses we are supporting existing companies to take on more staff.

It is also important to inspire young people to think about setting up a business. From my experience there are few better ways to take control of your own life, and have an exciting future. And our schools locally have excelled in encouraging young people to think commercially. This week at Dane Court School a group of students were asked to develop some commercial marketing ideas for Broadstairs High Street. They presented great ideas, a beautiful leaflet promoting Broadstairs, all based on rigorous market research. Was I meeting the entrepreneurs of the future – I think so!

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