The Business Secretary was at hand to offer his support for small businesses at a talk and networking afternoon following a record number of start-up businesses in the borough last year.

Twickenham MP Vince Cable was joined by MP Zac Goldsmith and Councillor Meena Bond, the mayor of Richmond, at the Paypal offices in Richmond for the event offering start-ups and small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) advice and support.

Dr Cable praised the growth accelerator, a sector-specific mentoring scheme, which he said shows the Government’s commitment to helping small and medium-sized businesses to develop.

He said: “It has already been recognised across the country as a really valuable intervention.

“On a personal note, it is great to see events like this locally where businesses collaborate in exchanging information and skills.”

The sell-out event was the first in a series hoping to help small businesses in the area.

Richmond Park MP Mr Goldsmith said: “If we want a balanced and sustainable recovery, small and medium-sized companies could not be more important.

“We had a record number of new start-ups in 2013, and I am delighted to be supporting Start up Richmond again this year.”