PS MP: So you can see in terms in supply chains the vaccination was a very specific thing that you can really only put on scale with those bigger companies. But if you look at something like aerospace, for example, which I also work on, you’ve got Airbus and Boeing, these big companies, but you also involve a huge number of SMEs in the supply of some really exciting technological advances for the future.
There’s this phenomenal innovation that’s happening here in the UK, but SMEs are very much at the heart of the supply within that. But in Government terms, we are working on and continue to work on our procurement strategy to make sure that what we’re doing directly, we can get to SMEs. Making it easier for SMEs to be able to bid into that, to hang off some of these big and bigger companies.
SM: And how do you ensure that you’re hearing the voice of small business?
PS MP: I speak to small businesses every day, frankly. So I do a number of different things in base, with hospitality and retail. So yes, I deal with all the big pubs and restaurants, but yesterday I had a call with small restaurants and pub owners in Bolton. I do SME round tables working with the Federation of Small Businesses, with QuickBooks, Intuit and Sage, who obviously have lots of SMEs as their customers. I’ve spoken to the chief executive at Etsy. And he introduced me to a number of very small businesses working for the kitchen table.
A lot of women in particular, some 80% of Etsy’s users are women that are really connecting them up with their customer bases. So there’s lots of work done to make sure that every SME…actually their definition of SME if there is one, involves some pretty hefty businesses; 250 employees. But the kind of business I ran, the small businesses were around my kitchen table, or my study, or with maybe a couple of other people at most. So when I talk about small businesses, I talk about really small business often. That’s what I need to adjust in this job.
Steven Mather was Talking to Paul Scully My, Minister with Responsibility for Small Business for The Business Herald Podcast