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Deputy Mayor for Business writes exclusive for FSB Regional Voice

Rajesh Agrawal, Deputy Mayor for Business

Rajesh Agrawal, Deputy Mayor For Business. 

Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy.  You are at the forefront of innovation, showcasing the entrepreneurial spirit of those who take the brave step to create a new enterprise from scratch.   

By doing this, you’re not only seeking to create a better life for yourselves, but for those you take with you on the journey, and of course for society as a whole.       

Sadiq Khan has vowed to be the most pro-business Mayor London has ever had.  And a crucial part of this is doing everything possible to support small businesses.  

Before going into politics, Sadiq used to help run a small business himself – and when I moved to London I set up two successful fintech businesses from scratch - so this is something I’ve always been passionate about. 

I'm pleased to say that we’ve already made great progress.

We’ve established the London Growth Hub - an online signposting tool helping connect London’s entrepreneurs, microbusinesses and small and medium-sized enterprises with the support that is available to help them start, sustain and grow. And we are now developing and delivering face-to-face business support through a range of Growth Hub programmes that will support microbusinesses, those businesses that are struggling to survive and those that have the potential to scale up.

The Mayor has also launched his Civic Innovation Challenge that will match tech start-ups with public bodies, major companies and other partners searching for innovative solutions to some of London’s most pressing problems.

We’re making it easier to find affordable office space - amending the London Plan so that there is stronger protection for small businesses and start-up workspace and delivering new spaces for the creative industries, artists and the fashion industry within new residential and mixed-use developments.

And we’re providing access to finance through our Civic Crowdfunding scheme.

The Mayor and I firmly believe that one of the best ways to reduce inequality is to support businesses and we will both continue to do this every single day.

Next month, I will meet the London Business Board and attend a lunch discussion with FSB members. I look forward to meeting many of you at that event so we can discuss these issues in more detail.