Royal & SunAllliance has stepped up its targeting of the small business sector by sponsoring a major new Government-backed drive to help keep small businesses afloat.

The New Business Initiative, set up as part of a £240m Government fund to finance new ventures, is attempting to pare down the high number of small businesses that go bust before their first year.

Central to the initiative is a quarterly publication, New Business, which is distributed free of charge to business owners and directors.

Under the two-year deal, RSA will contribute to the Insurance and Risk Management section and will take part in surveys and a new expert panel.

The insurer has also launched a dedicated website for small businesses which can be found at www.royalsunalliance.co.uk/commercial/newbusiness

"The market is currently poorly served by the insurance industry and there is no clear market leader," said Simon Cooter, small business development manager,

"We intend to become that leader and our sponsorship of the New Business Initiative is a clear sign of our commitment to this important market sector."