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An Invite to 10 Downing Street To Talk Business Growth


Krystle and other business owners sat in The Cabinet Office

Below I share details about my (Krystle McGilvery) invitation to No. 10 Downing Street last month. The invitation came as a big surprise, but made complete sense after everything had settled down.


The focus? Business growth in the UK. Read on to hear more about how it went.


The day I received an invitation to the esteemed grounds of 10 Downing Street for a cross-sector roundtable discussion will remain a highlight of my career for a long time to come. The opportunity to dialogue with Lord Dominic Johnson, Minister of State for Investment and Regulatory Reform, and Franck Petitgas, the Prime Minister's Special Adviser on Business and Investment, came as a surprise.


The invitation acknowledged my role as a leader and an esteemed figure within my sector, invited to share insights on nurturing the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through more intelligent regulation.



The Arrival: A Blend of Emotions


Stepping into the iconic Cabinet Office venue (a last-minute change from Number 10), I found myself laughing and offering a cheery "good morning" in stark contrast to the prevailing seriousness - an attempt to balance the excitement and apprehension within me. After signing in and a brief wait in the lobby, the historical significance and the anticipation of meaningful discussions enveloped me.



The Discussion Commences


Franck and Dominic initiated the roundtable, setting a tone of focused and substantial dialogue. Franck delineated the government's goals:


  • To cut down on regulatory stock

  • To decelerate the introduction of new regulations from Parliament

  • To make existing regulations more business friendly by shifting from a stance of "No." to "Yes, if..."


The emphasis was on growth, removing economic barriers, and simplifying the regulatory framework as an essential for business development in the UK.


Voices From the Business Community


Images of Krystle (black lady in black dress) and two other attendees (two white men)

I highlighted the distinct challenges small businesses face, particularly those that are creative or led by individuals with disabilities or neurodivergent conditions.

The roundtable, comprising nine business owners from both small and large companies, broached various concerns, including HMRC's (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs') conflicting definitions related to the paper and card industries and the call for a stronger export champion network. The conversation highlighted the need for tangible adjustments, such as facilitating self-certification for electrical appliances within domestic operations to access to business guidance.


My Input: Championing Inclusivity and Efficiency


I highlighted the distinct challenges small businesses face, particularly those that are creative or led by individuals with disabilities or neurodivergent conditions. I pointed out the administrative burdens, the complexities of grant funding, Access to Work (ATW) schemes, and the inefficiencies in financial management training for founders, which not only impede innovation but also lead to unnecessary tax costs.


Additionally, I emphasised the critical need to support apprenticeships and employ young people, highlighting the funding shortfalls that often disadvantage SMEs.



The Lilac Review: Envisioning the Future


After I shared my points, I was made aware of the Lilac Review.


The Lilac Review, propelled by Small Business Britain with support from the UK Government, aims to elevate the prospects for disabled-led businesses.


By conducting extensive research and advocating for systemic change, the Review intends to foster an economic environment where disabled entrepreneurs can flourish, potentially unlocking an additional £230 billion for the UK economy.


Keep a look out for more developments in this area.



Reflecting on a Day of Meaningful Dialogue


The roundtable transcended a mere meeting; it was a heartfelt exchange of ideas, with Dominic and Frank demonstrating a true commitment to the concerns of business leaders. Their readiness to listen and interact with the realities SMEs face kindled hope for a regulatory environment that is both more inclusive and efficient.


A lack woman taking a self in the Cabinet Office


The attention given to the issues I raised led to ongoing discussions, signalling a government keen on adapting and championing business growth. This reaffirms the critical role SMEs play in the economy.


As I departed Downing Street, I felt privileged and optimistic, encouraged by the government's resolve to lessen regulatory hurdles and promote innovation. This initiative sends a strong message of support, underscoring the value of unified efforts in influencing government policies for a promising future for UK SMEs.


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