Research clearly shows that a large contribution to Green Deal can be made by small businesses, specifically those interested in the green growth markets. High-growth firms, many of which are small businesses, are the essential innovators. “No nation was ever ruined by trade” is a quote from Benjamin Franklin (1706 – 1790) and it sums up what Green Deal can do for the UK. Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is a long awaited trigger for the economy and the role small businesses play in this will be vital. 60,000 jobs are estimated to result from the Green Deal and only those meeting the competency criteria with appropriate qualifications will be eligible for a Green Deal Quality Mark and be allowed to work under the Green Deal and ECO funding mechanism.
What is the role of small businesses within Green Deal and ECO?
Small businesses to deliver Green Deal and ECO work will be favoured by the customer - local knowledge combined with apprehension of large companies – will create opportunities for even the smallest of players.
Small businesses were accountable for the majority of job creation over the last five years despite the recession. Whilst mid-sized businesses with £25-500 million in turnover are shedding jobs, the small business sector is the primary driver for jobs growth.
Is there confidence in the Green Deal and ECO?
Many business owners ask the frequent question, “Do you think there are any opportunities for me in the Green Deal and ECO?”
Clearly, the experience of Phyllis Prior-Boardman, Green Deal Consortia founder, feels that many business owners are seeing opportunities but they are by no means a majority. Much of this is due to a lack of perceived support, a track record of U-turns by Government, and confusion about Green Deal which has subsequently knocked business confidence.
What are the challenges facing SME’s?
Regulation can be a major barrier for the small players but it also can create opportunities. Business owners know from the onset that they must comply with a number of regulatory frameworks that already exist. The Green Deal accreditation framework is yet another regulatory layer, but many already have similar systems in place and are familiar at operating some level of quality system. For those who struggle with meeting the required standards, qualifications and minimum competencies, there are a number of tools being developed by industry to help them through it. Achieving a Green Deal status should be seen as a bonus and not a burden.
As a Green Deal Business Consultant, Phyllis Prior-Boardman of Green Deal Consortia Ltd feels strongly that the challenges small businesses face can be overcome by getting the right messages across, by articulating simple and easy to follow advice, by portraying the larger picture of low carbon futures, and importantly to inform on Green Deal and ECO’s potential demand and subsequent funding translating to earnings for industry.
In addition, CITB-Construction Skills recently called for small contractors to take on low carbon building skills to benefit from the Green Deal and ECO and is encouraging them to register as a Green Deal installer with an accreditation body.