SME news in brief: health and safety, school holidays, training, funding

SME news in brief
SME news in brief

Employees say businesses should do more to tackle health and safety

One in three people in the UK believe that their employer could be doing more to improve health and safety in the workplace.

This is according to research carried out by facilities and building maintenance specialists Direct365.

Direct365 head of digital Phil Turner says: “People spend a lot of their lives at work, so it is essential that they are kept as safe as possible during that time. Employers may believe that their work environments are up to scratch but, as our research shows, there is always more that they can be doing to make improvements, whether that change is big or small.”

SMEs could benefit from a restructured school holidays system

More than half of the UK public believe that the school holiday system should be restructured in order to benefit budding entrepreneurs and home businesses.

This is according to a new survey undertaken by virtual receptionist service ava, which found that 53% of people would be behind a reformed schedule.

Many small business owners have bemoaned the lack of consistency in the term times set by schools throughout England and Wales - with the problem coming to a head during the recent Easter break, when certain schools in the same towns and cities staggered their holidays.

Ava’s latest survey also suggested that women (62%) are most in favour of a rejigged system, while men (45%) are clearly more sceptical.

When the results were broken down by age demographic, it was the 25 to 34-year-old category that supported a proposed change the most (59%). This is unsurprising, given that this group are arguably the most likely to be starting a family.

Google to offer free skills training to Newcastle-based firms

Google is opening a pop-up ‘Digital Garage’ in Newcastle City Library, where it will deliver free digital skills training. Opening on 22nd April, the Garage will employ experts to provide one-to-one mentoring and digital masterclasses five days a week.

Google is inviting anybody who wants to learn the skills they need to make the most of the web to pop by the Garage for a ‘digital tune-up’. This could be anyone from locals looking to improve their career prospects and vocational skills, to small businesses looking to grow online.

Over 88% of businesses that have previously attended a training session at The Digital Garage state that they have changed the way they run or promote their business online; 68% of people surveyed say they've seen positive results - in either increased sales, bookings, web traffic or social media following - after Google’s free training.

New European seed-stage start-up fund

A new 30m EUR pan-European seed-stage fund has been launched. Backed VC’s mission is to be the most collaborative, community-driven fund in Europe.

Backed shares its profits with everyone who refers a company it backs. Furthermore, Backed is building software platforms that enable entrepreneurs to hire talent from across Europe, share knowledge and distribute marketing content, empowering them to help themselves and one another.

Backed is similarly determined to bring transparency and collaboration to the venture capital industry itself, by sharing deal flow and diligence with other investors. Backed has also co-invested in all its deals with leading European and US funds, including Index Ventures, Connect Ventures, Valar and Floodgate.