News in brief: NHS, serial entrepreneurship, tech, EU, CBI

News in brief
News in brief

New resource to help SMEs win NHS contracts

A new online resource that seeks to break down the barriers for SMEs and the NHS and create opportunities for collaboration has been launched this week.

The site,, has been put together by an expert panel of entrepreneurs, CEOs and senior NHS procurement officials. The resource includes key advice from the centre of the healthcare sector including NHS England, the Health and Social Care Information Centre and the Office for Life Sciences.

This resource comes after the NHS was allocated £1bn in the November 2015 Budget to spend on technology over the next five years in its bid to become a digitally-enabled health service. While this creates opportunities for SME collaboration, there are also new barriers surrounding the speed of innovation adoption within the health sector. To solve this, health tech innovators have contributed to this continually evolving website, compiling tips for SMEs who want to work with the NHS, as well as advice and lessons for NHS boards and leadership teams who are looking to adopt my health tech solutions.

Serial entrepreneurship could become the norm

There is a huge untapped potential for serial entrepreneurship that could provide significant economic benefits.

This is according to a report by Coutts and the Centre for Entrepreneurs (CFE) which provides an overview of the depth and extent of serial entrepreneurship in the UK.

Highlights include:

  • In general, individuals are starting businesses at a younger age: over half (57%) started their first business by the age of 25 versus only 23% of those aged 35 and above;
  • Younger entrepreneurs are more impatient to exit, with 63% planning to exit their current business within the next five years, versus 46% of those 35 and over;
  • Wealth is not a dominant motivation for serial or one-time entrepreneurs, with business growth (90%), interacting with people (79%), and contributing to society (73%) all ranking higher;
  • 80% of one-time founders enjoy being immersed in running a business, this is true for only 55% of serial entrepreneurs. Serial entrepreneurs are less likely to enjoy day-to-day business involvement, and tend to prefer a more detached portfolio approach;
  • Serial entrepreneurs are less afraid of failure, with only 13% saying they are afraid of failing, compared to 40% of one-time founders.

“To go beyond the first business can be an entirely different challenge to being a one-time founder.” CFE director Matt Smith said. “We wanted to create a report that explores the motivations, fears, and ingredients for success that surround serial entrepreneurialism. Our report delves into the role of luck, the attraction of multiple projects, and attitudes towards risk, but also indicates areas for growth: how do we encourage more women entrepreneurs? Should we remove the stigma around closures? It’s food for thought and a glimpse into Britain’s entrepreneurial mindset.”

UK employees feel held back by bad tech

A staggering 85% of the UK’s office workers believe they would be able to perform their duties more efficiently if their workplace was equipped with better technology.

The research, conducted by cloud-based expense management provider, webexpenses, also found that over a quarter (26%) of office workers wish they had better IT systems at work. In addition, 16% admitted that the technology they use at home is far superior to that provided by their employer.

When asked about what aspects of their job could be improved by better technology, 41% said that the management of teams and internal communications could be greatly enhanced. In addition, over a quarter (28%) of respondents said that client relationships and sales could also benefit from a boost in technology at their organisation.

CBI president makes the case for remaining in the EU

Businesses should play a role in an informed EU debate and set out why full access to the EU Single Market is beneficial to the UK. This is according to Confederation of British Industry (CBI) president Paul Drechsler, who makes that case that, contrary to claims that staying in the EU brings uncertainty, the far greater risk would be leaving altogether.

Drechsler said: “This vote will have consequences that stretch far beyond the life of this Parliament to the next generation, so it’s crucial that people understand what their choice will mean for future British jobs, growth and investment.”

Many people, Drechsler argues, will not care about the finer details of the EU Single Market, but they will care about how much things cost in shops, cheap flights abroad, costs for calls, texts and data etc.

“And perhaps above all,” said Drechsler, “they probably don’t care about how much membership boosts UK GDP, but do care about what it might mean for their job or their partner’s. Whatever our view – let’s communicate with people in a way which reflects their priorities and their lives.”

Smaller businesses happy to hire reservists and service leavers

Smaller businesses are increasingly positive about employing reservists and service leavers, with many more business owners saying they can see the benefits of hiring those with service experience.

According to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) the change demonstrates the progress which has been made in improving the package of support available to small businesses hiring reservists.

While the attitude of employers to hiring those with service experience is widely positive, the research also revealed a clear preference among smaller firms for hiring service leavers over reservists with two in three (65%) employers saying they would be keen to hire service leavers. The number of small firms saying they would actively consider hiring a reservist has increased too, up from 45% in 2013 to 49% in 2016.

This is a welcome sign and shows that more and more small firms recognise the benefits of taking on a reservist. However, more can be done and FSB is calling on Ministers to commit to further support for smaller employers.