Cast of thousands for Enterprise Week

Monday will see the start of a week of events to celebrate and encourage more entrepreneurial activity in the UK. Enterprise Week, which has the backing of the government, charities and the UK’s biggest business groups, promises to be even bigger than the inaugural event last year. More than 550 organisations are involved, with more than 1,400 events planned across the country.

Entrepreneurs involved in the week’s events include Sir Alan Sugar, Sahar Hashemi, co-founder of the retailing franchise Coffee Republic, and James Murray Wells, winner of the 2005 Shell Livewire young entrepreneur of the year and founder of Glasses Direct, which sells low-cost spectacles over the internet.

Events include a Big Idea day on Friday at Coventry University, which aims to generate 1,000 new product ideas in four hours, and a live enterprise competition between 20,000 school pupils in schools across the country. The Federation of Small Businesses, one of the founders of the week last year, is backing the final of the British Small Business Champions awards at Claridges on Tuesday.

The Financial Times will be running two online surgeries for entrepreneurs during the week on Simon Woodroffe, founder of the Yo! Sushi restaurant chain and panellist on the BBC’s Dragon’s Den television series, will be answering questions for an hour on Tuesday followed by James Dyson, the serial inventor, on Thursday.

Questions can be sent by e-mail ahead of the live Q&A sessions to, marked either for Mr Woodroffe or Mr Dyson to answer.

Credit management is biggest headache

More than a third of small business owners said credit management problems were the biggest hurdle to starting and growing a business, according to an online poll by the Better Payment Practice Group. The next biggest barrier was access to finance, cited by 19 per cent of respondents.

Lack of insurance putting firms at risk

A quarter of small businesses could be at risk because they are not fully covered by business insurance, according to a survey of more than 1,000 small and medium-sized enterprises by Lloyds TSB Insurance.

SMEs in the north-east of England faced the highest risks, with 47 per cent admitting that theyHairdressers, beauticians, caterers and restaurant owners were the most likely to be fully insured. IT specialists, retailers and independent professionals, such as management consultants and surveyors, were the most likely to say they did not have some element of business insurance.

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