Labour relaunches Small Business Taskforce

8 June 2012

ed milibandEd Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party, today announced that he is relaunching Labour’s Small Business Taskforce following Nigel Doughty’s tragic death in February 2012. The Chair of the Taskforce will now be taken up by Bill Thomas, a former Senior Vice-President of Hewlett Packard.

The taskforce of business people, entrepreneurs and experts was set up by Ed Milband in 2010 to look at how the government can shape the business environment so it is as conducive as possible for entrepreneurship and growing small businesses. It was chaired by Nigel Doughty until his death in February 2012.

Ed Miliband MP said:

"Nigel Doughty left the Labour party a huge intellectual legacy with his interim Small Business Taskforce report before he so sadly passed away earlier this year. It is right that we continue his work and contribution in this area, and I am delighted that Bill Thomas has agreed to chair the taskforce’s work going forwards."

Bill Thomas, the new Chair of Labour’s Small Business Taskforce, said:

"I am delighted to be asked to chair Labour’s Small Business Taskforce going forwards. A great deal was achieved under Nigel Doughty’s leadership and I am committed to building upon his insightful legacy. The taskforce will report back to Ed Miliband, Ed Balls and Chuka Umunna later this year on what policies we think a future Labour government should adopt to promote entrepreneurship and small business".

Labour’s Small Business Taskforce
Biographies of members:

Bill Thomas, Chair - Bill is a former Senior Vice-President and General Manager of EMEA at Hewlett-Packard. He is the Proprietor of Hopton Estates, and holds non-executive directorships of Xchanging plc; and of GFI Software Sarl, a leading supplier of software to the SME market. He previously led a review of defence procurement for the Labour Party. He chairs the International Advisory Board at the Cranfield School of Management and sits on the Advisory Board of Leeds University Business School. He was formerly Executive Vice-President at EDS.
Ed Ainsworth - Ed Ainsworth is an entrepreneur who has co-founded four successful growth businesses over the last ten years. All the businesses combine use of innovative technology, analytics and solutions together with a focus on growth. He is currently Managing Director of 4C Associates and Chairman of Ansor Environment. 
Stephen Alambritis - Stephen is now the Leader of the Council at the London Borough of Merton. He was formerly the Head of Public Affairs at the Federation of Small Businesses. He is currently a member of the FSB having set up his own successful small business in the property sector. He is also a Commissioner at the Equality and Human Rights Commission and is also on the Board of the London Pension’s Fund Authority. He was formerly a member of the Better Regulation Task Force and was also Chair of Enterprise UK.
Robert Blackburn - Robert Blackburn is Director of the Small Business Research Centre, Kingston University. He is an authority on entrepreneurship and small firms, having undertaken research for private and public sector organizations; and numerous governments across the world. His recent research examines the role of community organizations and small firms, and the role of trust in external relations and public policy interventions.  In 2011, Robert received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion.
Andrew Burke – Andrew Burke is the founding Director of the Bettany Centre for Entrepreneurship at Cranfield. He is also the Director of Graduate Programmes and a member of the Executive at Cranfield School of Management.  He is a member of the Board of Directors of Cranfield Ventures Limited - the University's tech transfer unit.  He is a Visiting Professor at the Anderson School of Management, UCLA, USA.  He is a founding editor of the International Review of Entrepreneurship and is widely published in top ranked international journals including the Harvard Business Review, Journal of Management Studies, Regional Studies, International Journal of Industrial Organization, the Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, and Small Business Economics. His work has been presented at the EU Commission, World Trade Organization, HM Treasury, and the House of Commons.
Ben Coleman - Following seven years as a managing consultant, Ben Coleman has run his own public affairs communications consultancy, Oceans Consulting, since 2001. He helped establish Labour's first small business taskforce in the mid-1990s. This consulted widely and enabled the incoming Labour government to make policy based on a first-hand understanding of small firms’ needs.
David Connell - David was co-founder of TTP Ventures, an early stage Cambridge venture capital fund, and he is a Senior Research Fellow at the UK Innovation Research Centre at the University of Cambridge. He has played a pivotal role in championing the establishment of US-style procurement based innovation policies at UK and EU level and is the author of several publications on innovation policy.
Lesley Davies - Lesley is Deputy Chief Executive (Policy) at the Association of Colleges. She joined the AoC as Assistant Chief Executive Policy and Professional Services in January 2010, following three years at the Learning and Skills Council as National Director of Framework for Excellence and Quality. Lesley’s early career was in corporate travel management, working for blue chip companies, including British Aerospace, Roche Pharmaceuticals and Coopers & Lybrand.  During her time working within the travel industry, she also held the position of Course Director for the Institute of Travel Management, where she was responsible for the development of the UK’s first corporate travel qualifications.
James Frith - James Frith, 35, is Managing Director of U-Explore Ltd. U-Explore is a creative digital company providing a unique and national approach to impartial careers advice.  James’ company is committed to bridging the gap between education and employment to enable young people to fulfill their ambitions. James is also a Labour Councillor in Bury.
Tim Hames - Tim Hames is Director of Policy at the British Venture Capital Association. He started his career as a Lecturer in Politics at Oxford University specializing in American and British Government. He became a journalist at The Times assuming the roles of Assistant Editor, chief leader writer and columnist. He regularly edited the newspaper as a whole between 2006 and 2008 as part of his duties. He has also recently served as Special Adviser to the Speaker of the House of Commons.
Peter Haden – Peter Haden is a management consultant working in the retail and consumer sector, with a particular focus on driving growth. He has extensive international experience, having worked in the US , Eastern Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, Russia and was most recently based in New Delhi for four years. He has also worked with several of the UK's leading international development organisations on issues around trade and the role of the private sector in overcoming poverty and suffering. 
Deborah Leary OBE - Deborah is founder and CEO of award-winning company Forensic Pathways. She was voted as one of Britain’s Top 100 Women Entrepreneurs by Real Business Magazine in 2009. She is National President of the British Association of Women Entrepreneurs, Chair of the Midlands World Trade Forum and Director of the European Network of Women in Leadership. She was awarded an OBE for her services to entrepreneurship in 2008. She also won British Female Inventor of the Year in 2005 and a European Woman of Achievement award in 2006.
Angela Maxwell OBE - Angela is Managing Director of Acuwomen, a company that advises SMEs on business strategy. She was formerly Commercial Director of Francino, the UK’s only manufacturer of espresso and cappuccino coffee machines where she helped quintuple the company’s turnover in a decade. She was awarded an OBE for Services to Business in 2010. She is a former adviser to UK Trade and Investment, and was a Board Member of Advantage West Midlands. She is also a non-executive director of University Hospitals Birmingham Foundation Trust.
Alex Mitchell - Alex is a founding member and UK President of the G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance. He is also Chairman of Young Brits, Vice President of the European Confederation of Young Entrepreneurs and Head of Influencer Relations at the Institute of Directors (although he is serving on the taskforce in a personal capacity). He is the IoD’s representative on many groups including UKTI’s Asia Task Force and the Joint Economic and Trade Committee for India.
Toby Perkins MP - Toby Perkins became MP for Chesterfield in 2010. He is currently Shadow Minister for Small Business within Labour’s Shadow BIS team. Prior to this he was Shadow Minister for Children and Families and until Autumn 2010 sat on the DCLG Select Committee. Before becoming an MP Toby was a Chesterfield Councillor and ran his own small business supplying rugby clothing. Having worked in the private sector for his entire career prior to entering Parliament Toby has a thorough understanding of the challenges facing SMEs in the current economic climate. Toby worked in recruitment and for various companies in Chesterfield before setting up his own business with his wife, which they ran together for several years before his election in 2010.
Martin Phillips - Martin Phillips has worked in direct marketing and e-commerce in the UK, Europe and around the world, running his own companies since 2000. Based in the South East, Martin is also a member of the Labour Party’s National Policy Forum, representing party members on economic policy.
Terry Owens - Terry Owens founded InBiz, a company that helps individuals and groups to develop enterprise skills and which focuses particularly an moving people who are unemployed into self-employment. Inbiz helped over 20,000 people to move off benefit by setting up their own business while Terry was there, and over 80% of those InBiz supported were still trading after two years. He won the SFEDI Overall Champion Enterprise Supporter award in 2008.
Mark Riddick - Mark Riddick is a real estate process entrepreneur. He launched PSA, the first private real estate company in 1983, and then founded the first online search provider, SearchFlow, in 2011. In April 2006, Candian Firm MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) acquired the SearchFlow and PSA brands, and Riddick became Managing Director of MDA UK and Ireland, with a turnover of over £350m in 2007. Riddick left MDA in December 2008. He is founder of the Property Forum and a former Chair of PISCES, the global standard for electronic exchange of real estate information and of the E-HomeBuying Forum. In 2003, Riddick was recognised as Entrepreneur of the Year by the National Business Awards.
Tony Roulstone - During his 20 year career at Rolls-Royce, Tony Roulstone led its nuclear business group and held company-wide engineering and business change positions. Subsequently, he advised large companies on business strategy and major IT investments. Currently, he is teaching nuclear energy at the University of Cambridge. In 2011, he was a member of the Labour Party’s Review of Defence Procurement: ‘Ideas for Future UK Defence Procurement’. He was educated at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and at the University of Cambridge. Prior to joining Rolls-Royce, he was an Army Officer before working at Dounreay on fast reactor systems.