Private Business December 2012: hot topics for private companies

We start the December edition with a look back at September's Private Business Awards, held at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London. Private companies are a hugely important part of the UK economy and we were very proud, alongside HSBC Private Bank, to sponsor this celebration of Britain's private businesses. You can read a list of winners on the night and find out how to enter your own business for the 2013 awards.

In the current economic climate, getting access to finance can be a challenge for small start-up businesses. We look at some of the myths behind finding the right investment and, more specifically, how tech companies go about funding their growth through seed funding.

Focusing on innovation can be an important driver for the growth and long-term success of small to medium-sized businesses. We outline some areas which are ripe for innovative, new ideas, including how you deliver your services and products, and tax reliefs such as the research and development (R&D) tax credit or Patent Box relief.

Innovation has been central to the success of JCB, the construction and agricultural equipment manufacturer, ever since the company was founded back in 1945. We caught up with JCB's chairman, Sir Anthony Bamford, to talk about the advantages of being a private business, the need to export globally and the challenge of educating a new generation of engineering talent.

Mind Candy, creators of the hugely successful kids' online game Moshi Monsters, are no strangers to putting innovation to good use in their business. We sat down with Divinia Knowles , CFO and COO of Mind Candy, to talk about creating educational games for kids, the challenges of expanding into physical products and why a little bit of creative magic is needed in any thriving business.

As always, we round things off with our Bits at the back section, where we outline the potential challenges when a family business gets into a dispute between family members. We also look at the differing ways your business can respond to the ever-changing risk landscape.

You can keep up-to-date with the latest business issues on our Private Business blog.