MILTON Keynes has long been known as a great place to start a business. Recognised as the fastest-growing city in the UK, there is no doubt that its population and prospects will continue to increase in size for the foreseeable future.
Since the New City’s birth in the 1960s, we have seen many large companies base their operations here to capitalise on the excellent location, infrastructure and connections. From those early days, Milton Keynes was planned to be a regional hub for business, located within easy reach of London, Birmingham, Oxford, Cambridge and Leicester.
As Milton Keynes College is an active player in the MK Futures 2050 Commission on what makes a great city, we are looking forward to seeing what steps will be taken to keep Milton Keynes heading towards economic growth for the benefit of all our community.
The importance of the SME economy cannot be overstated. According to the Federation of Small Businesses, at the start of 2015 total employment in the UK’s small and medium-sized enterprises was 15.6 million, representing 60 per cent of all private sector employment.
In particular, recent studies have shown that small firms represent 80pc of the total number of businesses in Milton Keynes, alongside the well-known, big name organisations that make up the economic landscape here.
Milton Keynes enjoys a vibrant and growing community of like-minded, enterprising busines-people, many of whom I meet regularly at Milton Keynes College’s Business 200 event, hosted by the Business & Leadership Centre at our campus in 200 Silbury Boulevard.
Over the last couple of years, our business engagement team has worked closely with Milton Keynes Council’s dedicated business support unit Invest Milton Keynes to develop the Small Business Fortnight event, which is set to return for 2016 later this month.
Those setting up their own business face a minefield of challenges, tasks and obstacles that, at first, can seem daunting. Events such as Small Business Fortnight and services like those signposted by InvestMK offer a wide range of insight and expertise. These include services such as the Launchpad offered at Milton Keynes College’s Business & Leadership Centre but also InnovateMK and Entrepreneurial Spark from NatWest, all of which provide differing support for a variety of business requirements.
Take, for example, last year’s Small Business Fortnight. Visitors benefited from the expertise of fellow entrepreneurs providing insights into topics such as book-keeping and employment law. They also discussed more intricate and possibly overlooked considerations such as how to create a website from scratch and key considerations for PR and marketing.
While there will be challenges for new businesses, I firmly believe that entrepreneurs in Milton Keynes have all the resources at their disposal to establish themselves and create an exciting future.
Milton Keynes College offers a wide range of support for small businesses via the Business & Leadership Centre.