The good news is it looks like the new enterprise tsar is determined to help out small businesses, and is already planning his first steps towards that goal. The bad news is ‘Lordalan’ will never sound so good nor roll off the tongue quite so easily as ‘Suralan’.
For it is indeed Alan Sugar who, in among the revelations of the cabinet reshuffle on Friday, was appointed as the new enterprise tsar.
What that means for the demi-god of the Apprentice and Amstrad is he’ll act as an advisor to the government. His role is not political but will focus on giving unbiased advice, Sugar has said. Having said that, he is a long-time friend of Gordon Brown and has recently voiced his unwavering support for Brown as PM, so his advice will doubtless be erring on the Labour-friendly side.
So what exactly is the new tsar going to be doing then? "What needs to be sorted out is the economic climate, small businesses and other enterprises," Sugar said in response to his new role.
And, thankfully, it seems like he’s planning be taking action for small businesses already. He’s going to be taking a ‘roadshow’ of bankers around the country to encourage them to start lending to small and medium sized businesses. Alongside that, he’s putting together a panel of business experts including ex-Amstrad International and Tottenham Hotspur boss Claude Littner to ‘act as a buffer between the banks and businesses’, he told the Sunday Times.
“The banks have been told to help out and lend, but from what I hear that’s not happening,” said Sugar. He told the paper he couldn’t ‘put pressure on them’ but he could offer ‘practical business advice’.
“We can say ‘if it was my money I would invest with this company but not that company’. The banks need a bit of teaching too.”
In his role as enterprise tsar, Sugar will report to Lord Mandelson and work alongside him in the newly expanded Business and Enterprise Department, as well as Baroness Vadera, the business minister, and Lord Davies, the trade minister.
And if he sticks to his promise to help small businesses, we wish him all the very best of luck in the role.