Government appoints two entrepreneurs in residence to advise on SME thinking

Business owners Lawrence Tomlinson and Rekha Mehr are to become the entrepreneurs in residence at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) after fighting off competition from over 200 other applicants.

Experienced Leeds-based entrepreneur Lawrence Tomlinson has run businesses in a number sectors including construction, software, chemicals, cars, and care homes.

Rekha Mehr is the founder and owner of Pistachio Rose, a London-based business creating high-end Anglo-Indian cakes and sweets. She has been hired specifically to be a voice for start ups and small firms.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “These appointments are about better involving businesses in government’s decision making process, so that we can support their growth in a more intelligent way.

“I’ve already visited Lawrence’s company headquarters near Leeds and had exposure to his trenchant view on banks and of the high-performance cars that he manufactures. I will be visiting Rekha’s main retail outlet at Fortnum and Masons today.

“Rekha and Lawrence will be important voices for businesses in my department. Having them on hand to offer feedback and advice will be a significant asset and help keep our focus firmly on the needs of entrepreneurs.”

Serial Entrepreneur, Lawrence Tomlinson, who was awarded ‘Overall Director of the Year’ by the Institute of Directors in 2012 said “I’m thrilled to be joining BIS and I’m eager to get straight to work and support the department’s efforts to address the issues businesses are facing on the ground.

“My key focus in office will be to tackle some of the key concerns around access to finance and improving bank lending to business and I will share the views and experiences of my peers with Ministers and officials on this issue.”

Start-up Entrepreneur Rekha Mehr said: “I am very excited to begin work as the new Start-up Entrepreneur in Residence. It’s easy to forget the early days and frustrations of starting your own business and I welcome the opportunity to share my experiences to help government improve their understanding of the needs of a start-up business.

“There is a wealth of guidance and support available to SMEs which can be critical to their success in the early stages and I look forward to working with Ministers in the coming months to raise awareness of this and contribute to ideas for future initiatives.”

Over 200 business owners across the country applied for the two available positions which were announced during last year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week.

Paul Jones

Editor of Business Matters, the UKs largest business magazine

Editor of Business Matters, the UKs largest business magazine