An international startup expert will be brought into Whitehall as an entrepreneur-in-residence at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

Simon Devonshire, director of Wayra Europe, a hothouse for new digital startups, will be advising BIS on how best to help small businesses achieve better growth and export rates.

These plans will be unveiled by Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock  later today at the Federation of Small Business summit in Liverpool.

Mr Hancock is expected to outline the government’s wider commitment to supporting British small businesses. He will explain that the new GREATbusiness website will be a portal for small enterprises to seek guidance and to learn more about the support the government are offering to help startups through the Small business, Enterprise and Employment Bill.

Simon Devonshire will be brought in alongside Professor Timothy Dafford who will work with BIS on synthetic biology, which is believed to have a huge potential for the life sciences and energy sectors.

Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock said:

“Both Simon and Timothy bring a range of experience and knowledge of the needs of small businesses. It is that expertise that we are bringing into the department to make sure that this country is the best place for a business to start up, scale up and thrive.

Small businesses, be they in specific industries like life sciences or established at a kitchen table, are the foundation of our economy and create sustainable growth and much needed jobs.”

Simon Devonshire outlined the UK’s central position within the global digital economy – Britain has more startups, more engaged investors and a more active eco-system than anywhere else in Europe.

The government hope this new initiative will create a collaborative approach to new business models and provide more of the support needed for small businesses to continue to flourish.

Photo by Garry Knight