From the top · 24 November 2016

Small Business Decision Makers 2017: The 30 business influencers leading future policy and enterprise promotion in the UK

Business influencers 2016
The second outing of our Small Business Decision Makers list includes some under the radar names
The last year has produced unprecedented economic, political and social change around the globe, and it’s fair to say that the world we take into 2017 will be very different to the one 2016 inherited.

The UK has been no stranger to change, with a vote to leave the European Union made in June, a new prime minister appointed in July and economic predictions looking different with each passing month.

Because of this, it has never been more important to know who is in the position of being an influencer those directing small business policy from both within the government and outside of it. That’s where our’second annual Small Business Decision Makers list comes in. We’ve pulled together the 30 individuals who are widely respected and looked to for guidance and advice when it comes to deciding on the best rules and regulation for young enterprise.

We’ve stripped out the redundant names from last year and injected the fresh faces that we believe will have a profound impact on how policy decisions are made in 2017 and beyond. Once again the list is broken down into distinct segments, this time government, finance, supporters, lobbyers and champions. And as a new addition, the Business Advice team has also included a “one to watch” for each segment.

While many rankings will include successful entrepreneurs and investors, we have only included those we believe will have a fundamental impact on the direction of small business policy and your ability to execute on ideas. Including those in senior positions at the likes of Google and Facebook is a reflection that these firms form crucialcomponents of the infrastructure you build around your company early on.

Over the coming months we’ll be interviewing the members of Small Business Decision Makers, finding out what their roles entail and how each believe the future British business environment should look to best serve a nation of entrepreneurial enterprise builders.

We hope you find our ranking informative and enlightening, and we’d encourage you to get in touch via to share your thoughts.


Greg Clark Business secretary

Greg ClarkAs secretary of state for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Greg Clark is going to play a key role in shaping domestic business policy as the government negotiates its way out of the European Union.

Clark has history in business policy. In his lastrole as local government minister, he’set up the Local Enterprise Partnerships that replaced the British Growth Service.

Clark has touched on his commitment to small UK enterprise, previously speaking of his intention to bring small companies into the supply chain for the automotive industry.

The MP for Tunbridge Wells used his first major speech as head of BEIS to confront the Big Six energy providers and is expected to outline the government’s industrial strategy before the end of 2016.

David Davis Brexit secretary

David Davis

The newly appointed Brexit secretary is leading the country’s negotiations with the EU to provide the best deal possible for Britain in leaving the union.

Small business owners will need to bereassured that they will be effectively represented in any trade deals signed by the government in the process.

Davis has already been challenged by shadow chancellor John McDonnell for cutting ‘sweetheart? deals for big corporations with car manufacturer Nissan receiving government assurances while side-lining smaller firms.

Davis’ new relationship with businesses gotoff to a frosty start, after UK retail bosses snubbed last-minuteinvitations to join a roundtable meeting to discuss the impact of leaving the EU.

Many small UK firms particularly those in the hospitality and services industries rely on access to the European workforce, and many small business representatives have campaigned for residence rights of EU citizens to be guaranteed by the Brexit secretary.

Margot James Small business minister

Margot James MPMargot James was appointed as small business minister for Theresa May’s new-look government at the end of July. One of her early movements was to side with small businesson one of the most pressing business issues late payments.

Co-authoring a letter to 1, 800 UK businesses, James fought the case for small firms, stating that prompt payment can make all the difference to small business owners, boosting cash flow and allowing eachto invest in growth for the future.

James hopesthat the Prompt Payment Code (PCC) will create a culture change? in the treatment of small companies by so-called ‘supply chain bullies. In previous roles, James has supported a reduction in business rates and praised the New Enterprise Allowance.

James announced a consultation to examine the role of the small business commissioner a vacancy yet to be filled since first announced in July 2015. The position is dedicated to handling the complaints procedures for small business owners.

Sadiq Khan Mayor of London

Sadiq Khan

When he beat Zac Goldsmith in the London Mayoral Election in May 2016, Sadiq Khan wanted to let business owners in London know that he understood the “responsibility” of running a company. Khan pledged to be the most pro-business mayor that the city had ever had.

Hehas united with 40 retailers and business groups in the capital to fight against an increase in business rates.

Businesses in London have been told by the government that the average increase is 11 per cent, but other figures have suggested some areas are braced for a rise of 150 per cent in rates. Khan is using his position to argue that the rates will be detrimental to profits and growth in the city.



Praseeda Nair is an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.

Supply chain