Since its formation in 1999, the Genesis Initiative has worked as an ‘umbrella’ organization harnessing the collective strength of the trade associations, institutions and other groupings representing the SME sector.
Thus far, Genesis has committed support, through membership of its Senate, from over 117 organisations which collectively represent nearly 25% of the SME sector.
The Genesis Board of Directors and Senate include both senior industry figures and influential politicians from all political parties. They work with government and opposition ‘teams’ to encourage the adoption of policies allowing the SME sector to flourish, to the benefit of the UK economy.
The Genesis Initiative Manifesto 2024
Theme - Productivity
THE GENESIS INITIATIVE (Genesis) Manifesto, 2024 will focus on PRODUCTIVITY, because efficient enhancement of productivity grows the gap between “costs of production” and “return on sales” which is the “profit margin”.
THE 2024 MANIFESTO
Genesis will advocate for, and promote:
- Improved terms of payment for micro and small businesses. This covers both prompt payment against agreed terms and shorter periods of credit between supplier and customer.
- Enhancement and prioritisation of digitalisation for micro and small businesses.
- Enhanced and prioritised micro and small business access to academic and practical training and development courses and programmes.
- Greater access to finance to meet the very different business needs of micro and small businesses.
In 2024, Genesis will champion four key elements of the economy:
ACCESS TO FINANCE
SUSTAINABILITY (a catch-all term for ethical and environmental concerns across the world) will be addressed in all these key elements.
Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises
In 2022, there were 5.5 million UK private sector businesses. Of those, 99.9% were categorised as SME (Small and Medium-sized enterprises), employing 0-249 people. The largest SME sub-group is “micro” businesses (0-9 employees) which employ 32% of the total UK working population. Of those, 74% had 0 employees (aka “self-employed/freelance”). However, after 20 years of growth, and the COVID 19 pandemic, there has been a sharp decline in UK micro businesses, and particularly the self-employed.
This Manifesto will address the four key issues with an emphasis on micro and small businesses because Genesis members represent those sectors.
 Source: The latest BEIS, Business Population Estimates, Oct.2022
THE GENESIS INITIATIVE – EUROPEAN CHAPTER
THEME – TRADING IN THE EU
In 2024, The Genesis Initiative will further promote the advancement of trade in goods and services between the UK’s micro and small businesses and the EU
The Genesis Initiative represents over 100 UK Trade Bodies. The majority of them represent micro businesses (undertakings with 10 or fewer employees). The Genesis Initiative recognises the critical importance of the European Union (EU) as a long-standing and compelling source of trade relations, covering both goods and services.
The UK left the EU, single market and customs union at the end of 2020. UK trade with the EU since then has been regulated by the Trade and Co-Operation Agreement (TCA);the aim of which is to eliminate tariffs and quotas for goods and services between the UK and the EU while protecting the UK’s freedom to regulate in the best interest of its citizens and business. The introduction of the TCA will be followed in 2024 by a new Customs Declaration Service for exports and imports.
In 2022, 42% of UK exports and 48% of its imports were from the EU. This represents a decline over the previous three years.ii This downturn was very much reflected in the fortunes of smaller enterprises in the UK.
The Genesis Policy Agenda
Outside of its manifesto recommendations from time to time Genesis delivers an ongoing programme of public policy work in areas of concern for the Senate, which it sees as critical for the UK SME economy. Presently policy working parties are focused on:
- SME and the tax system
- Commonwealth trade
- Securing the future of SME financial service businesses
- Sustainability of micro business
- Access to finance
Policy programmes generally consist of a series of workshops and seminars driving towards policy recommendations for the government or opposition parties, developed on a cross-party basis.
At the time of a forthcoming General Election of the House of Commons, Genesis draws together and publishes its manifesto of SME sector-friendly policies, and these recommendations are available for all political parties to adopt in their own election manifestos. The editorial process for the Manifesto draws together leadership and ideas from across the wide range of Genesis Senate members to set out a comprehensive policy agenda for the SME sector in the UK.
In anticipation of the 2024 General Election, the most recent Genesis Manifesto was launched in early 2024.
Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee
For several years, representatives from the trade association members of the Genesis Senate have met twice a year with representatives of the Greater London Agency of the Bank of England to discuss economic and business conditions affecting the SME sector.
These meetings form part of the overall information gathering the Bank undertakes on behalf of the Monetary Policy Committee to inform its quarterly decisions on setting interest rates.
Three times each Parliamentary session, Genesis organizes a breakfast in the House of Commons for the benefit of Senate Members. The guest speakers are usually drawn from senior Members of the Government Front Bench or Opposition Benches responsible for the SME Sector.
These breakfasts are normally followed by a meeting of the Genesis Senate, which allows trade bodies to bring forward issues related to Government policy that are causing problems for their members, or to feedback to other members on policy initiatives of which they may not be aware.
Senate meetings also provide the opportunity for external agencies and others to make presentations or speak to research papers which may of interest and benefit to Senate members and their own memberships.
From time to time, Genesis will also hold conferences and seminars on ‘hot topics’ relevant to the SME sector. A recent example has been a conference on alternatives methods of raising finance.