News in brief: co-working, crowdfunding, cyber-attacks

News in brief
News in brief

SMEs believe in co-working

The majority of small businesses in the UK believe that co-working is the best way for fledgling firms to thrive.

Research by workspace provider Regus found that almost three quarters (72%) identified co-working spaces as the ideal environment to base a start-up. When asked about the benefits of co-working compared to other workspace options, more than eight in ten respondents (83%) claimed it was a much more cost-effective alternative to a fixed office.

Other findings include:
• 63% of small businesses believed that co-working provides more inspiration than a traditional office setting
• 54% claimed that it provides more stimulus to keep skills fresh
• 62% said co -working provides new business/ project opportunities
• 61% said that co-working spaces offered a more creative environment that regular offices
• Two fifths said co-working helps in keeping up –to- date with industry news

Regus UK CEO Richard Morris said: “Meeting other entrepreneurs is critical to creating lasting business relationships and expanding your business. Co-working is a great way to expand your network of professional contacts, access invaluable advice and inspiration and raise the profile of your business.”

Crowdfunders Growthdeck and Squareknot join forces

Equity crowdfunding platform Growthdeck is teaming up with Scotland’s first crowdfunder Squareknot.

Squareknot was launched in 2013 in Glasgow by a team led by Derek Bond, an experienced finance director and entrepreneur. Squareknot has raised almost £1m for businesses to date, including recent deals for £170,000 for a craft beer led pub brand, MacGregor’s Bars, £100,000 for video communications app 2mee, and £70,000 for landlord service company LetPal.

Growthdeck launched in January of this year as a platform focussed on meeting the needs of investors rather than just investee businesses – improving on poor practices which have become common in some areas of the crowdfunding industry.

Squareknot MD Derek Bond says: “To maintain investor confidence in crowdfunding and in specific investment offers, proper due diligence is vital. Companies being considered for listing on Growthdeck are subject to the rigorous analysis that institutional investors would get and that private investors deserve.”

“I am confident that this deal will allow us to offer the best terms to those seeking to invest in credible, sustainable businesses in Scotland and the rest of the UK.”

Cyber-attack is top concern for small businesses

Cyber-attack is the top threat perceived by businesses, according the Business Continuity Institute (BCI), in association with BSI. Similarly, the threat of a data breach rises to second in the list, up one place from 2015.

The annual BCI Horizon Scan assessed the business preparedness of 568 organizations worldwide and shows that three quarters (85%) of business continuity managers fear the possibility of a cyber-attack. A recent industry report highlights the annualised cost of cyber-crime per UK company now stands at £4.1m, a 14% increase in mean value since last year.

Concerns over supply chain disruption remained in the top ten, but fell two places from fifth last year to seventh this year. Almost half of those polled (47%) identified increasing supply chain complexity as a trend, leaving their organization vulnerable to disruption from conflict or natural disasters.

CBI responds to updated Sunday trading laws

Small businesses may soon benefit from extending Sunday trading hours, allowing high street shops to compete with online retailers.

The CBI has released a comment on the changes to trading hours. CBI chief of staff Matthew Fell said: “The Government’s Sunday trading proposals are part of a broader devolution agenda aimed at creating economic growth on all UK regions, which businesses support.

“But when devolving powers, especially at pace, it’s important to consult widely and take on the views of communities and businesses.

“That’s why we’re keen Sunday trading laws are introduced incrementally to avoid unintended consequences, such as operational and distribution problems for businesses or confusion for consumers.”

FSB Worldpay Business Awards winners announced

The inventors of the world’s first coffee-powered coffee bean roaster have scooped the “Best Overall Business” at the 2016 FSB Worldpay Business Awards, beating off stiff competition from some of the UK’s most innovative small businesses.

Dorset-based 918 Coffee Co invented the Eco Roaster, a revolutionary low-carbon and zero-waste approach that uses coffee grounds as fuel to roast the next batch of coffee beans. As well as winning the overall award for best business, 918 Coffee Co also walked away with the trophy for Business and Product Innovation of the Year.

Other winners included a company that employs injured military veterans to help people achieve their full potential, a research and education centre that showcases the wonderful world of invertebrates, and an entrepreneur who overcame a life-changing illness to set up a knitwear empire

Now in their third year, the FSB Worldpay Business Awards, celebrate innovation, diversity and social responsibility within the UK small business community, and recognises the crucial role that these companies play in the wider economy. This year the Awards received over 1,000 entries from fast-growing smaller businesses across the country, providing a welcoming sign of confidence for the year ahead.