16 January 2017: Small businesses continue to feel ignored by the government, according to new research by Sage. The research highlights that 67% of small businesses feel under-represented by politicians in the run up to the annual World Economic Forum (WEF), where they continue to be omitted from the agenda. As a result, Sage CEO Stephen Kelly has announced that he will boycott Davos for the second year running.
In order to give business builders a platform to connect with policy makers, Sage is launching its ‘Forum for Business Builders’. The Forum brings entrepreneurs from around the world insights, events and policy-forming partnerships to give them a powerful collective voice that can be heard on the world stage.
It builds on Sage’s ongoing commitment to bring governments together with business builders. In December, Sage visited Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in Australia and hosted an Taosieach Enda Kenny in Dublin to discuss small business challenges in their countries. It also hosted two events in the UK gathering Ministers and trade associations to discuss the implications of the EU Referendum on entrepreneurs.
The first piece of global research from the Forum shows that entrepreneurs remain optimistic, despite global instability. Three quarters (75%) anticipate their business turnover to grow (26%) or remain constant (49%) over the next 12 months, while more than a third (34%) plan to launch a new product or service. However, red tape continues to be their biggest challenge going into 2017 (18%), and they are looking to the government provide better business support; almost half (49%) felt that this was the most positive change their government could make this year, followed by improvements to tax (46%) and funding in innovation (34%).
Sage CEO Stephen Kelly, said: “Only too often when the world’s policy makers discuss the global economic picture, small businesses are excluded from the discussion. This is most evident with the annual World Economic Forum in Davos where small businesses aren’t even an item on the agenda. Worse still, 60% don’t even know the event is taking place. It’s crazy when you think they create two thirds of all the jobs in most economies, and represent over 98% of all businesses.
Kelly continues “Business builders are the heroes of the economy. They toil away long after the rest of us have gone home, making personal sacrifices to grow their businesses, to support their families and communities. Policy makers and big business must wake up to the fact that these heroes need to be supported and given a voice, if we are to ensure the future health of the world’s economy.”
The Forum is open to all small businesses and will be refreshed regularly with diverse content and insights from guest contributors and advisors.