News in brief: legal; entrepreneurs; productivity

News in brief
News in brief

Legal tech start-up secures £1.3m in funding

Lexoo, a legal tech start-up matching UK SMEs and entrepreneurs with handpicked lawyers, has raised a further $1.3m in funding, taking total funding to more than $1.7m (£1.1m).The new funding round was led by Forward Partners and follows an earlier $400,000 investment in January.

Lexoo will use the funds to expand sales and marketing activities and strengthen its operations and technology. Since launching in July 2014, Lexoo has grown by more than 25% month on month and is currently processing in excess of $1.5m in legal work annually.

“This funding round gives us the opportunity to further accelerate our growth and help thousands more businesses find the lawyer that’s right for them,” said Lexoo CEO Daniel van Binsbergen.

Entrepreneur4Schools scheme sees business people return to their schools for pep talks

The government-backed Entrepreneurs4Schools scheme is to kick off Global Entrepreneurship Week 2015 on 16 November. The scheme sees well-known entrepreneurs return to their schools to encourage students with tales of their journeys to success.

After speaking to children in their original class, each entrepreneur will record a short video inspiration - selfie style - on their smartphone, and upload it to the Entrepreneurs4Schools website to act as a lasting motivator for those who choose the path of entrepreneurship and self-actualisation.

Entrepreneur and former banker Will Davies, who founded the scheme, says: "I am delighted to have the backing from the government for Entrepreneurs4Schools to go ahead. With the current trend of so many young people wanting to start their own businesses, this scheme is an excellent platform for successful businessmen and women to inform and educate their young peers about their experiences".

Productivity is an issue in nearly a quarter of UK businesses

Output per hour for the UK is 20 percentage points below the average for the rest of the G7 advanced economies, according to the Office for National Statistics. This is the widest gap since comparable estimates began and reinforces the need for employers to move now in order to manage their workforce.

The impact of the ‘productivity puzzle’ is filtering down to smaller businesses, according to new research from Group Risk Development (GRiD), the trade body for the group risk industry. A quarter of employers (23%) believe productivity is an issue for their business, and are trying to identify and tackle the factors weighing down their growth, including promoting flexible working and investing in the wellbeing and fitness of their staff for long-term gain.

One popular way to support staff is the introduction of more flexible working initiatives. When asked what measures were in place to improve productivity, this method - including working from home and compressed hours – ranked highest, with nearly a third (29%) of employers saying they promoted this.

Finalists announced for the NatWest Everywoman Awards

NatWest has announced the 19 women from across the length and breadth of the UK who have been selected as finalists in the 2015 NatWest Everywoman Awards. These women represent huge diversity in terms of industry, background, experience, age and location in this, the 13th year of the UK’s leading programme celebrating female entrepreneurs.

The business owners range from those demonstrating hunger and promise as start-up founders, to those leading multi-million pound global empires or those spearheading social enterprise for greater good.

More Britons than ever are saying that now is a good time to start their own business, with 27.3% stating this in the recent NatWest Entrepreneurship Monitor. However, women are less likely to say this than men (25% vs 31%), which is why the NatWest everywoman Awards play such a vital part in challenging and changing mind-sets. According to the organiser, these awards raise awareness of the many and varied options available and create accessible role models to which others can aspire.