Dragon’s Den stars Theo Paphitis and Deborah Meaden are backing a major online initiative to provide small business customers of RBS and NatWest with all the online tools they need to run their operations, including legal services.
Smarta Business Builder, which is aimed at start-ups and small businesses, comprises five applications providing money management, business planning, hosted e-mail, website construction and legal documents, all online.
The “legal document builder” is provided by Epoq Legal, while premium users also have access to a legal helpline from FirstAssist Services. Telephone advice is limited to the legal issues raised in the legal document builder “which is suitable to be given by phone”.
FirstAssist provides round-the-clock access to “solicitors and legal consultants”. Its legal advisory services are ISO 9001:2008 quality accredited and “comply with the appropriate rules on professional standards and ethics regulated by the Law Society”.
Solicitor Richard Cohen, joint CEO of Epoq, said that by providing an “end-to-end service”, Smarta Business Builder was “a great example” of what the Legal Services Act could inspire.
Smarta aims to use the latest technology to provide information, networking, tools and services to make it easier for people to build successful businesses. Mr Paphitis and Ms Meaden are both investors, with the former also a director. RBS and NatWest are founding partners of the site, while London law firm Mishcon de Reya is also a supporter.
Smarta founder Shaa Wasmund said: “The launch of Smarta Business Builder is a natural next step in the evolution of Smarta’s ambition to give users the confidence they need to start and grow a business. Combined with Smarta’s rich content and network, Smarta Business Builder is a powerful tool to lay the right foundations in starting a business, and track the most important things that correlate with success.”
Mr Paphitis said: “Accounts, website, e-mail, business plan, legal documents – Smarta Business Builder takes care of everything, all in one place. I’m not just proud to recommend Smarta Business Builder, I’m suggesting that all small businesses use it too.”