Small businesses join the debate for forum event

Business people at the University's Sir Colin Campbell Building
23 Mar 2011 16:20:04.623
PA 97/11

Small businesses are being offered the chance to grill a panel of experts — including a former BBC Dragon and the head of the UK’s largest small business organisation — about the tough challenges facing their firms during a Question Time style debate taking place at The University of Nottingham in April.

The event will mark the launch of a new national business forum for small business owners and managers which is the latest development from the UK Business Barometer, an established survey of SMEs and business advisers. Run by the Institute for Enterprise and Innovation at Nottingham University Business School, it garners the latest opinion and carried out trend analysis on the issues and concerns affecting the small business sector.

Dr Louise Scholes from Nottingham University Business School said: “The Business Barometer has been giving us perspectives on small business opinions for many years but we thought it would be excellent to give small businesses the opportunity to meet together and exchange views in person.
Click here for full story

“The forum gives this opportunity and also to ask questions of people who are influential in national and local small business policy. We hope that our occasional forum events will become a regular feature of national and local business policy debate.”

The first event —on the theme What Support Do UK Smaller Businesses Need? — will take place in the Senate Chamber of the Trent Building on University Park campus from 5.30pm to 7.45pm on Wednesday April 13. It will include a light buffet and networking opportunities.

Chaired by journalist Rob Pittam, formerly of the BBC’s Working Lunch, the panel of experts will be:

• John Walker — National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses and founding board member of the European Small Business Alliance.
• Rachel Elnaugh — the business mentor, author and celebrity entrepreneur from the BBC’s Dragon’s Den.
• George Cowcher — Chief Executive of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce.
• Councillor Keith Girling — Nottinghamshire County Council, with a special responsibility for economic regeneration and business engagement.
• Greg Whiting — a University of Nottingham graduate and a partner at Smith Cooper, a Midlands-based firm of accountants and business advisors.

The panel will face a whole raft of questions from the audience, which are likely to cover issues including how small businesses can work together to share their resources and cut costs during these times of austerity and the pressures facing suppliers as doors begin to close to them in the public sector.

Other areas of interest which will be addressed will be how small businesses can be supported in the current climate, how entrepreneurs can more effectively learn from the mistakes of their predecessors and what community-based voluntary organisations can do to sustain themselves when so many of their traditional streams of funding are drying up.

The UK Business Barometer is an online survey benchmarking key issues among the small business community and offering it a voice into government at a national, regional and local level. The results of the survey are published on a quarterly basis on the website and small businesses who contribute are offered a host of other benefits.

This now includes exclusive access to the UK Business Barometer Ning website, which allows them to communicate and collaborate with other small businesses, find out about key events in their area, keep on top of the latest national business news, take part in discussions and watch multimedia content on topics of interest.

Anyone who would like to register for the UK Business Barometer Forum event on Wednesday April 13 can do so at

More information about the UK Business Barometer and how to get involved is available on its website — alternatively follow it on Twitter at or on LinkedIn at

— Ends —

Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’, has award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings. It was named ‘Europe’s greenest university’ in the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking, a league table of the world’s most environmentally-friendly higher education institutions, which ranked Nottingham second in the world overall.

The University is committed to providing a truly international education for its 40,000 students, producing world-leading research and benefiting the communities around its campuses in the UK and Asia.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranked the University 7th in the UK by research power. The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health.

Story credits

More information is available from Dr Louise Scholes on +44 (0)115 846 7782,

Emma Thorne Emma Thorne - Media Relations Manager

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 951 5793 Location: University Park

Additional resources

No additional resources for this article

Media Relations - External Relations

The University of Nottingham
YANG Fujia Building
Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5798