News and blog

Cobweb publishes occasional opinion articles and papers which review, question and challenge different topics relating to business start up and micro-enterprise, business support policy and entrepreneurship best practice.

Practitioners, policymakers and business owners are welcome to comment and share their own views or experiences.

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Some facts about micro-business and enterprise support

November 27th, 2015 / 16 comments

The publication of the latest annual figures in the Business Population Survey has reminded us of an article we published in EnterQuest a few years ago which looked into the make-up and characteristics of the UK’s small and micro-business sector….

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Why we need more enterprise, not more entrepreneurs and gurus

September 25th, 2015 / 5 comments

Over the last few years in the UK, there has been a bewildering obsession and overuse of the term ‘entrepreneur’, which has been universally attached to anyone who is self-employed or running their own business…

Can entrepreneurship be taught in the classroom?

May 29th, 2015 / 10 comments

One particular debate which has become a perennial cause of divided opinion among enterprise professionals relates to whether entrepreneurship can or cannot be taught in a classroom setting. In the light of these differences in opinion the answer to the question is clearly yes, no, and maybe…

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The misunderstood and misrepresented needs of the self-employed

February 27th, 2015 / 4 comments

There has been a considerable amount of commentary, statistics and dialogue reported about the rise in self-employment levels across the UK over the last five years. At first glance, these top line figures seem impressive and have been heralded by ministers, think tanks and start-up groups as a healthy surge in enterprise and entrepreneurial activity which is fuelling the UK’s return to economic growth…

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A milestone, a cow's backside and the business support banjo

January 10th, 2013 / 5 comments

This week, EnterQuest reached a significant milestone with this being the 500th issue of the bulletin since it was launched back in 2003. One consistent subject upon which we have steadfastly held our ground is that, despite what is widely claimed elsewhere, starting up and running a business is far from easy – in fact, it can be eminently difficult and merciless – something that most people are not cut out for…

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2013 – the year of the back-street business

December 19th, 2012 / 5 comments

Every year the final couple of weeks before Christmas brings the usual round of forecasts and predictions offering a mixture of interesting professional foresight from those who seem to know what they’re talking about, along with the typical self-promotions from the self-obsessed. Here are EnterQuest’s devilishly accurate predictions for what COULD POSSIBLY HAPPEN next year…

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2012 – the year of imaginary small business support

December 14th, 2012 / 14 comments

At this time of year its customary to reflect on what has happened over the preceding 12 months (in a business sense) and ponder what lies in store over the next year. Across the UK in 2012 there has been no core support or major push to build capacity and quality in the development and promotion of viable start ups and micro-enterprise…

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The business start up crimewave

October 11th, 2012 / No comments

One particularly damaging effect of the economic downturn and cutbacks to funding of frontline business support has been a surge of people starting up on the side, without registering with HMRC or Companies House, rogue trading without statutory licences and permits, and plain illegal trading…

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Is there an Insolvent Business In You?

August 16th, 2012 / 16 comments

EnterQuest is considering an approach to the Department for Business (BIS) with a proposal to launch a new business start up initiative…but with a twist. We are proposing to BIS that they should launch a new campaign entitled There’s an Insolvency In Everyone – What’s the Insolvency In You?…

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Why you can't start up in business in three hours

July 12th, 2012 / 2 comments

Conventional thinking (and often advice) given to prospective new start ups is to find a business idea (or create a product) first and then work out who you are going to sell it to later. But those dumbstruck new start ups who are encouraged to pursue the first idea, product or ‘opportunity’ that they see rarely prepare themselves properly for running a business venture. And they rarely survive for very long…

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Young persons' start up loans – sublime or sub-prime business lending?

May 4th, 2012 / 1 comment

Going into debt when starting up, in the majority of cases, increases the likelihood of early failure. In young people these figures will almost certainly be higher, due to their lack of experience and more crucially lack of financial acumen. Providing a loan to a business that otherwise would not get off the ground is, in essence, funding a business model that starts out requiring a sticking plaster or crutch…

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The enterprise graveyard – Part 2

January 12th, 2012 / 8 comments

Our lead article last week presented a rather controversial argument which raised questions about 2012 being held up by Government and others as the ‘year for enterprise’, and whether it makes sense to encourage more start ups, especially now there is so little genuine local business support available…

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The enterprise frenzy and the Spending Review

October 21st, 2010 / 3 comments

There are one or two interesting debating points arising from the Government’s public Spending Review – to do with the […]