News in brief: cloud, payments, pensions

News in brief
News in brief

Only 13% of SMEs use the cloud as primary storage platform

Only 13% of UK SMEs are using the cloud as their primary storage platform, according to a survey from IT service, support and solutions provider, Icomm Technologies. Carried out among 500 small to medium-sized organisations, the survey revealed that almost two thirds (61%) look to storage area network (SAN) solutions, while 16% are still using network attached storage (NAS) or direct attached storage (DAS). When asked about long-term solutions, only a fifth (22%) said they were confident that the cloud will become their primary storage strategy in the future.

IT consultant at Icomm Technologies Mark Lomas said: ''It's important to separate the hype from reality in order to understand how businesses can best manage their storage infrastructure. SMEs will often have less scope to experiment compared to a larger enterprise. Testing new solutions can be a costly exercise, meaning that if businesses want to make a change, they'll have to commit in a big way. While the cloud is likely to grow in popularity, SMEs are clearly in no rush to adopt it as their primary solution.''

New payments platform for SMEs from Stylopay

Open platform mobile payment solution provider Stylopay has launched a unique contactless payment and mobile wallet technology for SMEs at the Money2020 Conference in Las Vegas.

The solution allows small to medium-sized business to deliver their own branded QR, NFC and AR contactless payment and mobile wallet facilities at minimal cost. Using security features through tokenisation, it enables businesses to allow their customers to use their smartphones for contactless payments in the most simple and secure way possible.

Founder of Stylopay Avishek Singh said: “As part of our dedication to providing innovative mobile payment solutions, Stylopay bridges a gap by allowing businesses to leverage the vast opportunity behind the last point of contact with their customers. With its open API they can now achieve this at the lowest cost and in the most hassle-free way possible.”

UK leads western economies in start-up growth

New business creation is accelerating more quickly in the UK than in any of its Western rivals, with a 51% increase in the number of new businesses over the last five years, up from 385,741 in 2010 to 581,173 in 2014, shows a new study by UHY Hacker Young, the national accountancy group.

UHY Hacker Young analysed data on new business registrations over the last five years in 22 countries across its international network, including the G7 and the BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India, and China).

It reveals that since the depths of the global recession in 2010, the rate at which new businesses were established in the UK was second only to China’s.

UHY Hacker Young’s study shows that Western European economies tended to see a bigger increase in the number of new business ‘births’ compared to other developed economies. The UK, Italy, Germany, and France all had rates of new business creation above the G7 average of 31%.

By contrast, the increase in the number of new businesses over the period was 11% in the USA, 7% in Japan, and 4% in Canada.

Older entrepreneurs to cash in £400million of their pensions to fund start-ups

The biggest pension changes in a generation are providing cash funding for UK start-ups with 100,000 older entrepreneurs, or ‘olderpreneurs’ as they have been dubbed, expected to cash in around £400million of their pensions to fund their new ventures this year.

This figure has been estimated by Clifton Asset Management and, and follows news from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) earlier this month that the over-55s cashed in more than £4.7billion of their pensions in the first six months after pension freedoms were introduced. Business owners over 55 have always had the ability to take their tax-free cash lump sum, but since the Government introduced pension freedoms in April, more business owners are choosing this route.

Clifton points out that those olderpreneurs using their tax-free allowance to fund their start-up may be taking the right strategic decision, but for larger pension investments, they should also consider pension-led funding (PLF). A Nesta report in conjunction with the University of Cambridge found that pension-led funding was worth £25m in 2014, meaning that almost two-thirds of SMEs using PLF saw their profits rise and almost half employed more people. The average amount raised by a small business through PLF in 2014 was £70,527.