Resident Entrepreneurs appointed to bring start-ups closer to the Government

Founder of Pistachio Rose, Rekha Mehr is one of the entrepreneurs appointed. She's declared herself the "voice for start-ups and small firms" in government and told Smarta what drove her to chase the new position.

"It was based on the experiences I endured (while starting up) last year. I thought, as a result, I can definitely give relevant advice as the voice of small businesses and help the Government understand the real problems start ups face in those first twelve months."

"Having immersed myself in the start up community, I know it's a really exciting but daunting place to be. I know how difficult I found it to move forward without feeling like I was wasting time and repeating things. I'm passionate about trying to improve the processes that are in place."

Mehr's primary focus is on mentoring and making sure business owners are aware of the help that's available to them.

"During those early stages, you have to justify every penny that you part with and I've never felt that there was enough information freely available to give me confidence."

Her experiences last year means Mehr's also very aware of the huge challenges start-ups face when hiring a first employee. She believes it's crucial that start-ups are made aware that it's not the insurmountable hurdle it is sometimes presented as.

"I have certainly had my eyes opened," Mehr said. "The role is about developing people's mindset and behaviour."

Mehr has only had two full days in the new role, but it's clear there's a wealth of optimism and aspiration coming from both her and fellow new advisor Lawrence Tomlinson, the Resident Entrepreneur for small businesses.

Tomlinson runs the Leeds-based LNT Group and wants to be a "direct line" between the government and SMEs. Regarding financing, Tomlinson appreciates the concerns of small businesses and has stated "something has to be done and I'm going to voice those concerns."

The two Resident Entrepreneurs were chosen from more than 200 applicants and will work directly with Vince Cable one day a week at the Business Department.

"Mehr and Tomlinson will be important voices for business," said the Business Secretary. "They will help the Government address the needs of small and medium-sized businesses".

It will be interesting to see what insight or actions surface in the coming months as a result of these appointments, but after speaking to Mehr this morning we're confident she'll giving her all in the fight to make life easier for start-ups.

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