Startup Advice

The small business guide to Theresa May's industrial strategy

Max White

Everything small businesses need to know in the PMs 10-point plan for industry

This week Prime Minister Theresa May unveiled her post-Brexit strategy for supporting UK businesses. The 10-point plan underpins the government’s new, more 'active role' in working with enterprises to boost the UK’s economy.

There’s a lot in the plan which small business owners ought to know about. The problem is: you’re busy people. You have stock to replenish, calls to take and deliveries to make. You don’t have time to read all 132 pages of Building our Industrial Strategy.

So to save you time, we’ve pulled together a summary of the important stuff.

Have your say

The strategy paper is a proposal. It is not a definitive plan of action.

The PM is inviting the public to respond to the strategy with comments, suggestions and recommendations by 11.45pm 17 April 2017.

How can you respond? Well, you have three options:

  • Online – via the CitizenSpace consultation platform

  • Email – send your thoughts to

  • Post – mail your responses to:

    Industry Strategy Team
    Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
    1 Victoria Street
    SW1H 0ET

The 10 pillars in the 10-point plan

The plan itself is structured around 10 pillars to drive industrial growth:

  1. Investing in science, research and innovation

  2. Developing skills

  3. Upgrading infrastructure

  4. Supporting business to start and grow

  5. Improving government procurement

  6. Encouraging trade and inward investment

  7. Delivering affordable energy and clean growth

  8. Cultivating world-leading sectors

  9. Driving growth across the whole country

  10. Creating the right institutions to bring together sectors and places

Pillar 4 – supporting businesses to grow and start

The fourth pillar is the most significant to small businesses, but what does it mean?

It’s about supporting businesses beyond their infancy. The UK has an effective start-up culture – providing easy access to financial support for those starting out – but what it must do better, is help them to grow. Or ‘scale up’, as it’s called in the report.

In its list of commitments, the government says it will work with the British Business Bank (BBB) to better understand the obstacles firms face accessing capital; especially those outside London and the South East.

The Minister for Small Business will take on a new role of Scale-Up Champion as part of the commitments. Margot James MP will oversee a task force supporting scale-up efforts alongside organisations like the ScaleUp Institute.

The government is asking for feedback on five particular areas of the fourth pillar. You can find them on page 69 of the report.

Pillar 3 – upgrading infrastructure

The third pillar focuses on investment in infrastructure, including railway and mobile telecoms networks.

Mrs May believes that better transport and communication networks are the cornerstone of a stronger, more prosperous economy.

Businesses in cities like Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle will benefit from a significant financial boost through the Northern Powerhouse scheme. A cash injection of £556 million has been proposed for the project in Theresa May’s new plan.

Businesses out in the sticks will be pleased to hear the Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund has ring-fenced £740 million for bringing full fibre broadband networks to rural UK areas.

The same fund will finance the integration of a national 5G mobile network.

On page 59 of the report are the third pillar areas that the government asks for your input on.

Make your voice heard

Remember, the deadline for submitting responses to these questions is 11.45pm on 17 April 2017.