Funding News – 29/08/2014

2014 Varsity Pitch Competition Offers £10,000 Prize for Student Entrepreneurs (UK)

The Varsity Pitch Competition is designed to reward UK students and recent graduate entrepreneurs who have enterprising ideas that they wish to turn into viable businesses.

The scheme enables participants to showcase their unique, innovative and creative concepts to the wider community.

Entries are invited via the submission of a 60-90 second video outlining the business idea. Video submissions will be judged by experts to compile a shortlist of seven industry finalists. The winners will go forward to compete for a range of prizes worth over £100,000. The first prize is £10,000 in cash, which will be awarded to boost the winner’s business. Successful entrants will also benefit from supplementary support provided at a showcase event during Global Entrepreneurship Week in November.

Entrants must be either a current student at a UK university or college or an individual who has graduated no earlier than 2009. The business/idea must be the entrants’ own idea and/or an idea that they are free to disclose. Additionally, entrants must be able to own and run a business or social enterprise in the UK and be at least 16 years of age.

The deadline for receipt of entries is 19 October 2014.

See the website for more details.



Life after A Level results

Ever wondered what happens to all those students who have completed their A Levels?  Research by HSBC has found:

  • Almost a quarter of people starting university this year plan to work for themselves when they graduate.
  • Half of the students questioned said the recession had made them want to run their own business more.

Important findings:

  • 50% of students starting university this year want to work for an established business
  • 24% want to work for themselves
  • 15% will do an unpaid internship when they graduate.

The research also found an increase in the number applications for vocational courses.

This year 76% of students have applied for vocational courses, compared to the 66% of current students who say their course is vocational.

Customer payments….

Do your customers pay on time?

How frustrating when they don’t and the impact this has to your cashflow!  Below are some suggestions as to how to make it easy for your customers to pay you, however some may well seem obvious, but you will be surprised by the number of businesses that don’t do these simple steps, however some may .

  • Always include your bank details on your invoices to enable online transfers to be made (Bank Name, Sort Code, Account Number).  This is one of the quickest / easiest way for you to receive the money due to you.  It is usually the cheapest way to receive money into your business bank account.
  • Ensure that all relevant / important information is on your invoices too – such as registration number, mailing address (just in case they insist on sending a cheque!), VAT number if applicable.
  • Schedule time in your diary to send invoices in a timely fashion.  Dependent on the nature of your business this could be weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.
  • Have clear payment terms and conditions in your contract and repeated again on the invoice, with an explanation of the consequences of late payments.

If you are a service industry how do you invoice your time?  Do you track your hours?  There are a number of free online tools to enable you to do this – one we have experience of is MyHours – – it really can help when you are working on a project – you might just be surprised how much time you’ve actually used!

For larger companies, it really can pay to send a monthly statement out as well as the invoices.  Many of the larger companies wait for a monthly statement to arrive before they make payment.

We hope that you’ve found this information useful.  For further assistance please do contact Dawn.

Success of Small Business Owners

Luck does not play a big role in a firm’s success according to nearly 3 quarters of small business owners, research by software provider Sage has found.

In a survey of more than 1,000 UK small business owners, just 28% of respondents felt that luck had a bearing on their success.

Effective planning – for growth and unexpected emergencies – was seen as a top priority for business owners.

Other findings from the study include:

  • poorly-performing SMEs cited back luck as one of the top 3 causes
  • good luck did not feature in the top 5 contributing factors for businesses performing well
  • 74% of companies reported good business performance in the last year; of these, 77% reported making a profit
  • good customer service, a solid business plan and sound knowledge of the business’s finances and suppliers were cited as the most influential contributors to success.


Employment Allowance

From the 6 April 2014 you can get the Employment Allowance which could reduce your employer’s Class 1 National Insurance Contributions (NICs) by up to £2,000 every year.

Who is eligible?

Almost every employer who is a business or charity (including a Community Amateur Sports Club) that pays employer Class 1 NICs on their employee’s or director’s earnings will be eligible.

Autumn Statement update….

The Autumn Statement has been delayed by one day and will now take place on Thursday 5 December, the Treasury has confirmed.

The change of date ensures that the Chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement speech to the House of Commons will not take place while Prime Minister David Cameron is out of the country.

Autumn Statement date confirmed

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne has announced that he will give his annual Autumn Statement to Parliament on 4 December 2013.

The statement provides an update on the government’s plans for the economy based on the latest forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility.  These forecasts will be published alongside the Autumn Statement on 4 December.

Full details of the announcements will be available following the Chancellor’s statement to Parliament.

Childcare Business Grants Scheme

£2 Million Childcare Business Grants Scheme – Applications Invited (England)

Launched earlier this year, the Childcare Business Grants Scheme aims to boost the provision of childcare in England and to incentivise entrepreneurship.

The scheme has been funded for one year with a fixed budget of £2 million.  There are three types of grant available, depending on the type of childcare business that is to be set up:

    1. £250 for new childminding businesses (a childminder is someone who looks after children in their own home, either alone or with help from one or two other adults).
    2. £500 for new childminding businesses (as above) that intend to provide care for disabled children.
    3. £500 for larger childcare businesses, including nurseries and out-of-school clubs (which are usually run in a specialist building), and childcare businesses on domestic premises (in someone’s home, but with four or more adults working there).

For further information:

Childcare Business Grants Scheme
PO Box 894
NP20 9NE
Tel:  0844 2642546