'Big hitters' to advise ministers on new business bank

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The government has appointed what it describes as five "big hitters" to advise on the creation and operation of the new business bank.

Chaired by Sir Peter Burt, the former chief executive of the Bank of Scotland, the group will look at improving the provision of finance to small and medium sized companies which the business bank is being set up to deal with. 

The new appointments are:

  • Lucy Armstrong, chief executive of the Alchemists, chair of the CBI's SME Council and chair of Capital for Enterprise 
  • Brendan Barber, former general secretary of the Trades Union Congress
  • Caroline Green, finance director at Metalrax Group
  • Stephen Welton, chief executive of the Business Growth Fund
  • Baroness Patience Wheatcroft, non-executive director of Fiat SpA and of St James's Place, and advisory board member of Huawei and Pelham Bell Pottinger

Business secretary Vince Cable said: "The business bank's advisory group, chaired by Sir Peter Burt, is a great example of the kind of modern leadership we are trying to encourage in British companies today. Half of the group are women and half of the group are directly involved in SME finance.

"The business bank is on schedule and the appointments today take it one step closer towards delivering more long-term funding for SMEs.

"The government already has in place a range of measures to help small and medium sized businesses access lending in the short-term. But this new institution will fill a vacuum in medium to long term credit that many viable small businesses are struggling to raise to grow and create jobs."

The government has committed £1bn to the bank so far and ministers are looking to boost the funding through joint investment with the private sector. 

About Dan Martin

About Dan Martin

Dan Martin has 10 years experience as a journalist writing about entrepreneurs and the issues that affect them.

After three years working as a researcher for Sky News, he joined BusinessEurope.com as a reporter. This was followed by two years working as news editor for Startups.co.uk during which time Dan also contributed to Growing Business magazine. In 2006, he joined Sift Media as business editor before being promoted to editor of BusinessZone.co.uk. He also has responsibility for UK Business Forums, the UK’s most active online forums for small business entrepreneurs. In addition, Dan founded The Pitch, BusinessZone.co.uk's nationwide competition for small business owners. He host the grand finals in 2009 and 2010 in front of an audience of 300. 

As well as interviewing many entrepreneurs, Dan has written content for leading business organisations such as the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, British Chambers of Commerce, Forum of Private Business, Investors in People and Business Link for London. Among the publications that have quoted Dan are The Times, Mail On Sunday, Financial Times, Personnel Today and Bristol Evening Post. His articles have also been published by publications including eGov Monitor, Virgin Express in-flight magazine and Personal Success.

Dan regularly speaks at events about small business and social media issues. Among the events he has presented at are the National Federation of Enterprise Agencies' annual conference, Learning Technologies, Publishing Expo and World of Learning. He has also chaired high profile debates featuring senior representatives from Business Link and the Federation of Small Businesses and Dragons' Den judge James Caan.

Dan was named the 10th most influential political blogger on Twitter by the Independent and won the public award for best B2B tweeter at the Golden Twits 2010. He also organised the Bristol Twestival, part of a global Twitter driven charity initiative, in February 2009 and March 2010. Volunteers from 175 cities around the world organised events using the social network. In total, $350,000 was raised for charity: water in 2009 and $500,000 for Concern in 2010. In Bristol, £1,500 and £5,600 was raised.


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