Government Start Up Grants
Government-funded start up grants are available to prospective business owners who are ordinarily resident in the UK. The levels of funding available vary, but often start at £4,000. Below is an overview of the main grant schemes available.
The Start Up Loans scheme
The Start Up Loans scheme is available to all UK residents aged 18 and above who require funding to set up a business. This is one of the most popular grant schemes available to UK-based entrepreneurs, and in 2015 alone it helped fund more than 13,000 companies. The scheme is administered by the Start Up Loans Company, although this is a government-backed programme that also receives support from The Business Bank. Funds are provided through unsecured loans, which have a maximum repayment term of 5 years. Loans cannot exceed £25,000 and interest rates are fixed at 6 per cent.
In addition to funding, the Start Up Loans scheme offers a support package that includes mentoring and a range of discounted business products, such as reduced PayPal rates, free website hosting, free business banking, free access to accounting software, and more. You can learn more about all the benefits available here.
Once the application is sent, prospective business owners will be matched to a delivery partner / business advisor, whose role is to offer support and advice when creating a business plan. This document will then be used by the Start Up Loans Company to evaluate whether funding will be granted or not. For detailed information, please visit the Start Up Loans scheme (www.startuploans.co.uk)
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Bizwiki, publishers of the popular national free business-listing website, are pleased to announce that the Bizwiki.com site is undergoing a major expansion.
While demonstrating the site, Bizwiki director Matt Aird said, “For the last few months we have been working on a major expansion of the content on the website. Combining submissions from our users with data collected by our webspider, we are now able to offer visitors more information about businesses and companies in the US than ever.”
The expanded Bizwiki.com website has broadened the content available to users to include enhanced information regarding over one million new businesses, and organized them into easily accessible categories.
Information about companies includes user-edited content, maps and directions, vital contact and address information, messages from the individual companies, text from site’s websites, important links, competitor links and online contact details, all provided free of charge to the site’s visitors in a new streamlined front-end design
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Graduates are increasingly selective when comes to applying for graduate schemes offered by businesses. These programs need to be attractive in order to attract top talent and be competitive with similar schemes at other companies. Your business and opportunities at your company also need to be properly promoted and advertised in order to attract high-potential talent.
Designing a Successful Graduate Scheme
When setting up a graduate scheme, you need to determine what type of individual you want for your business. This involves creating a profile of your ideal candidate that you can use for assessing applicants. Criteria should include an outline of the experience, skills and knowledge you need as well as requirements related to the type of person and character you want for your company. When designing the program, you also need to identify the prospects or path forward for individuals recruited under the graduate scheme. In order for a graduate scheme to be successful, participants should have access to longer-term employment. This ensures that the individuals you are developing stay with your company.
To design an effective graduate scheme, you need to get intelligence about what graduates what and need. One way to do this is to look within your company. Talk to employees about what they consider an ideal candidate for your graduate scheme. This will give you information about the skills and knowledge of individuals you should be recruiting. Also, talk to students and recent graduates at nearby colleges and universities. Organizing a focus group or doing a survey will help you find out what graduates are looking for and what they want to get out of a graduate scheme. This research will give you perspectives of students and graduates to inform the design of your program.
Promoting your company to university students and recent graduates is an important part of attracting high calibre talent. Having a dedicated section on your website for students and graduates is a great way to target information and make it easily accessible. The section should include profiles of recent graduates’ experience working with your company. This section can be enhanced with social media, including links to your company’s Snapchat or Instagram accounts where photos highlighting the experiences of graduates working for your company. Profiles should be fun and informative but also ‘sell’ your company as a rewarding place to work.
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Every year, nearly 200,000 students graduate with an advanced business degree from a US university. Despite the growing graduate numbers, the value of reputable business degrees continues to rise in a labor market that increasingly demands specialized knowledge and skills. Below is a list of the best-ranking business schools in the States.
Massachusetts-based Harvard is one of the world’s most prestigious business schools. This is reflected in the breadth and depth of its business programs, which include MBAs, DBAs, doctoral degrees, and executive education programs. In 2016, over 1,800 students enrolled in a business degree at Harvard. Graduates can expect to earn anything between $92,000 and $232,000 depending on their employer’s location, industry, and company size.
Stanford Graduate School of Business is repeatedly ranked as one of the world’s top-3 business schools. This institution is based in Palo Alto (California) and offers both traditional and accelerated business training programs in small classes of about 390 students each. Approximately 1,800 full-time students enroll every year. Stanford business graduates tend to receive solid job offers 90 days post-graduation (mostly in finance and technology firms) and median salaries are $130,000.
The Yale School of Management is located in New Haven, Connecticut, where it offers MBAs, Masters of Advanced Management, Doctoral programs, and joint degree courses to over 660 students every year (class size is under 280). Average base salaries post-graduation are $119,000 / year, and approximately 93% of students are employed within three months of graduating. Most Yale graduates take up roles in consulting, finance, accounting, and marketing.
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The UK’s 2016-2017 Budget was unveiled on 16 March. On the whole, British businesses welcomed the new measures outlined in this year’s Budget, as it was clear that the key changes were made in an attempt to stimulate the economy from bottom to top and to facilitate job creation while providing solid incentives for entrepreneurial activities nationwide. Approximately £24 billion have allocated to industry, agriculture, and employment, which have become top priorities given the crucial role that they play in driving economic growth in the country. This article provides an overview of how the new measures outlined in this year’s Budget will affect UK businesses.
UK Budget 2016: What large companies need to know
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How to introduce sustainable business practices in your organization
Sustainability involves considering environmental sustainability in all aspects of an organization’s operations. It also involves considering social sustainability and how an organization’s actions might affect the local community and people in general. Also known as environmental and social responsibility, considering sustainability of every business decision and activity may not be possible or feasible for some companies. At the same time, there are several ways to introduce sustainable business practices in your company or organization.
The Benefits of Being Sustainable
One of the main reasons to adopt sustainable business practices is the advantage it can give an organization. In many cases, sustainable practices lead to greater efficiency. This in turn can help reduce operating costs. Sustainable practices also attract and retain employees that want to work for an organization that encourages and embraces sustainable practices. They also attract new clients, customers, investors and other partners looking for environmentally and socially responsible organizations. In turn, being sustainable might encourage your partners, suppliers, clients and customers to also be more environmentally and socially responsible.
Ways to Make Operational Changes
An organization can become more environmentally and socially sustainable or responsible through operational changes. Part of this involves being a ‘good’ employer. This means being committed to your employees and how they feel about working for your organization. A good employer cares about how satisfied employees as well as their development and well-being. This might involve encouraging good work-life balance with, for example, flexible work arrangements and on-site fitness centres and childcare. It also involves promoting equality and fairness where there is no tolerance for workplace discrimination and harassment. Promoting a healthy and safe work environment for employees is a vital part of being a socially sustainable organization as well as a good employer.
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Small and medium-sized businesses are an important component of the UK’s industrial structure. According to the Federation of Small Businesses, their numbers have been growing steadily over the past two decades, reaching a record high of 5.4 million in early 2015. In recent years there has been a shift in the focus of business activity within the UK economy, whereby the country’s default organisational forms in the private sector gravitates towards SME’s.
However, and despite the obvious rise in the percentage of SMEs operating throughout the country, these businesses face major challenges when it comes to staying competitive in the long term. This is why one can never underestimate the importance of having a solid business model that is capable of bringing long-term value to your business.
A bullet-proof business model can help create and maintain value and define how a company will relate to its clients. This article offers some useful considerations regarding the best ways of future-proofing your SME business model.
Make It Innovative
In a recent study, researchers at the IESE Business School and at the University of Pennsylvania found that on the whole, novelty-driven business models yielded better results than efficiency, service, and cost-oriented models, in particular when innovation was specifically applied to business exchanges. Researchers also found that there still is room for improvement in the UK context, as the study referenced above revealed that only 25 per cent of interviewed firms could indeed be defined as innovation-driven.
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Companies that operate in the United States have a lot of dates to remember throughout the year. Federal deadlines are important in filing tax information, keeping up on employment notifications and making sure that self-employed individuals pay their estimated taxes each quarter. Missing a federal deadline could mean penalties, fines and possible tax consequences.
January 15, 2016
- All 1040-ES 2015 fourth quarter payments must be submitted
February 1, 2016
- People who chose not to pay their final 1040-ES payments on January 15, 2016 can file their full returns and not sustain a penalty
- Businesses must issue all 1099 forms
- Farm employers must file form 943 for Social Security and Medicare filings
- All employers must file form 940 for 2015 unemployment taxes
- Form 720 for fourth quarter of 2015 must be filed
- Companies must file form 2290 for any vehicles that were first utilized in December 2015
February 16, 2016
- Employees must file income tax exemption forms with employers
February 29, 2016
- Businesses must file information returns for payments made in 2015
- Form 1096 for payment of gambling winnings and copy A of form W-2G must be filed
- All employers must file their W-3 and copy A forms for each W-2 issued in 2015
- Large food and beverage employers must file form 8027 regarding tip income
- Form 730 required for all wagers placed in January
- Form 2290 required for all vehicles first put into service in January
March 15, 2016
- All corporations must file a form 1120 for their annual return
- Partnerships must distribute K-1 forms to all partners
March 31, 2016
- All forms 1097, 1098, 1099, 3921, 3922 and W2-G must be filed electronically
- Employers must file all W-2 forms electronically
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Regeneration projects are designed to improve living standards, lifestyle opportunities, transport links and business investment in areas of London. Current regeneration projects scheduled to begin between 2016 and 2018 are expected to boost the London economic outlook by providing jobs, business floorspace and improved public transport.
Six key regeneration projects include:
Old Oak Common: located within the Park Royal Opportunity Area, Old Oak Common is in West London near Vauxhall Nine Elms, White City, Park Royal and Earls Court. With residential housing and business commercial spaces to secure, the site will benefit from a new transport super-hub station combining London Overground stations with HS2 and Cross-rail. Investors will be interested in the sale of the development upon completion and lettings income.
New Covent Garden Market, Nine Elms: 115,000 sq ft of commercial accommodation within this mixed-use development is designed to act as a gateway to the Battersea opportunity area. Property values (predicted to grow by 140 per cent) include commercial property next to the coveted Northern Line extension – vastly improving the speed and efficacy of transport links to central London. The development is due to start in late 2015, early 2016, and complete in 2017. With the nearby New Covent Garden Market trading fresh produce close by, this area is also bound to attract restaurant and hotel investment.
The Silvertown, Royal Docks – London: The Silvertown Partnership commercial building zone will be completed in 2018. Offering over 50 acres of commercial space the area is sure to be popular with businesses seeking purchase near the world-class Excel Centre, the London City Airport and The Royal Dock. The new Crossrail station (and links to HS2) for the Excel Centre will be a 5 minute walk away (when completed), making The Silvertown a choice business spot within the buzzing financial area comprising Canary Wharf and Greenwich. For larger investors, there is still the chance to become a major equity partner in this £1.8 billion pound development.
Alexandra Palace – For smaller investors the iconic Alexandra Palace is in need of regeneration and requires around 50% of the building funding to restore the Palace to commercial glory, once again. For approximately £100 million this Grade II listed property, originally opened in 1873, is to be converted into a four storey hotel. Famous for the south-westerly views which take in almost all of London, the hotel is expected to attract top clientele, providing an excellent, regular turnover. For a chance to own the ‘People’s Palace’ and a slice of history, a small investor might see this regeneration project as a worthwhile investment.
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The Holiday season is often the busiest time of year for a lot of businesses. From shipping deadlines to taxable and non-taxable gift guidelines, there is a lot of things to bear in mind to ensure that your business is ready for the Holidays.
Christmas 2015: Dates and Deadlines for US Businesses
Official Holiday Dates
In 2015, Christmas Day will be Friday, December 25th. The vast majority of businesses (with the exception of restaurant chains and some convenience stores) will be closed on Christmas Day, and many will operate a reduced schedule on Christmas Eve too. Banks will be closed across the United States, and some financial institutions will also close early on December 24th.
Holiday Shipping Deadlines
Every year, the United States Postal Service publishes its Holiday posting and shipping deadlines. Domestic letters and parcels sent via Standard Post service must be posted by December 15th if they are to arrive on December 24th at the latest. Letters and parcels sent within the United States using First Class mail service must be posted by December 19th. Domestic items sent via Priority Mail should be on their way by December 21st, whereas letters and parcels sent to US addresses using Priority Mail Express can be posted as late as December 23rd.
The following deadlines apply to items sent to military or diplomatic addresses:
- November 7th for items sent via Standard Post
- November 25th for items sent via Space Available Mail
- December 3rd for items sent via Parcel Airlift Mail
- December 10th for items sent via Priority Mail and First Class Mail
- December 17th for items sent via Priority Mail Express – Military service
The deadlines for letters and parcels addressed to international destinations vary from country to country, with last shipping dates ranging between December 1st for First Class International mail to December 21st for items sent via Global Express Guaranteed. For a full list of international destinations and their applicable deadlines, please visit the USPS site at https://www.usps.com/holiday.
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