The week in entrepreneurship

Your weekly summary of entrepreneurship news, comment, and features. Sent by the Centre for Entrepreneurs (home of StartUp Britain). Sign up here. Read the original newsletter here.


Winter storms: the impact on businesses
The government has estimated over 4,500 firms have been impacted by the flooding over December as it announced a total of £11m to help them get back on their feet – an equivalent of £2,500 per business. However, research by the FSB indicates the average cost of extreme weather events to small businesses is closer to £7,000.

The government has faced criticism that small businesses are excluded from Flood Re – the government-backed insurance scheme set up to help protect people living on flood plains. The FSB is now leading calls to extend the scheme.

Entrepreneurs’ stories: Small firms hit by the floods describe their devastation – but also the support from communities (The Guardian)

First hand: Andy Walsh, owner of The Coffee Kitchen in Cockermouth shares his story (The Guardian)

Alternative Finance
Alternative finance finished the year on a high with Funding Circle reaching £1bn of small business lending since its founding and total peer-to-peer lending across all providers reaching £3bn.

Data released by MarketInvoice shows peer-to-peer lending grew over 50% to £1.5bn in 2015. In a separate report, Funding Options found that alternative finance providers are more than twice as likely as banks to approve small business loans.

Opinion: Why 2016 will be the year that peer-to-peer lending finally enters the mainstream (Jaidev Janardana, chief executive, Zopa)

New Year Honours
Natalie Massenet (founder, Net-a-Porter), Samir Desai (co-founder, Funding Circle), Jude Ower (founder, Playmob), Giles Andrews (co-founder, Zopa), Amanda Boyle (founder, Bloom VC), Simon Devonshire (CFE advisor and BIS entrepreneur in residence) and James Dyson (founder, Dyson) were among an extensive range of entrepreneurs recognised with New Year Honours. Read the full list (Enterprise Nation).

Private sector creates a record number of new jobs
New analysis by the Enterprise Research Centre shows companies that employ staff created a record 695,000 net new jobs in 2014/15. Read more.

100,000 British firms owed £16bn they may never recover
Telegraph: 113,000 British businesses are owed an estimated £16bn by insolvent companies, with individuals and small and medium sized business bearing the brunt of this debt mountain, according to new research by R3 – the trade body for the insolvency industry. Read more.

CBI pushes for a Low Pay Commission-style body to promote British exporting
Real Business: With the government committed to doubling exports to £1tn by 2020, the CBI is calling for an independent, national exports commission to be established. Read more.

Small business owners ‘better off on the dole’ if proposed tax return changes go through
Telegraph: Business groups have warned that the cost of quarterly tax returns proposed by government could drive thousands of firms to the wall. Read more.


A golden age for British entrepreneurship?
Rohan Silva (founder, Second Home) writes for the BBC on the day he was guest business editor of the Today programme. Read more. Listen to the programme (5 min clip).

Craft beer sector should toast Camden Town Brewery takeover
Drinkers may be drowning their sorrows after the controversial sale to AB InBev – but high profile takeovers could pump the industry, writes Sara Barton (owner, Brewster’s Brewery). Read more.

Prompt Payment Code needs to have power to fine offenders
Great strides have been made to name and shame businesses failing to pay their staff minimum wage; perhaps the same should be the case for the worst offending late payers, writes Charlie Mullins (founder, Pimlico Plumbers). Read more.

The year of the ambitious entrepreneur
Jane Gomez (MD, the Supper Club) reflects on 2015 and her interactions with hundreds of entrepreneurs in 200+ events. Read more.

Businesses support devolution, but there needs to be greater consultation
David Pester (managing partner, TLT) comments on a new report from the Centre for Cities examining business perspectives on devolution. Read more. Read the report.


New French accelerator offers spectacular beachfront views to inspire sports-related start-ups
VentureBeat: Starting a new company is typically no day at the beach. But it could be thanks to Blue Builder, a new accelerator in Saint-Jean-de-Luz that focuses on surf and action sports start-ups. Read more.