FOR anyone running or thinking of starting a business right now, the landscape is undeniably pretty bleak. The Eurozone is in crisis, our politicians are bickering and we’re in the midst of what might be a decade-long deleveraging across the economy – growth is hard to come by.
But there is one point on which everyone seems to agree – we need more people to take the leap and start a business of their own. Over the past year, there has been endless talk of the “enterprise-led recovery,” but in reality there won’t be a recovery without the creation of thousands of new businesses in the UK and those firms will not create themselves.
There are also thousands of enterprise initiatives, hundreds of entrepreneurial support programmes and mentor schemes, dozens of programmes designed to help people who want to start a business – each with their own very worthy goal.
Good intentions are not lacking in the enterprise community. The contribution these programmes can make in terms of jobs and opportunities are clear and most entrepreneurs are willing to do their bit to help someone else starting out on their journey.
While many of these programmes have divergent agendas, this week is the time to unite behind one target: creating more businesses in the UK.
Last week, I took part in Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), which encompassed over 1,600 events across the UK. GEW takes in everything from practical workshops hosted in schools and colleges to high-profile campaign launches backed by the most familiar faces in enterprise.
This type of support and celebration of enterprise is undoubtedly helpful in encouraging the would-be entrepreneurs who this economy needs desperately.
But, the truth is, most entrepreneurs are risk seekers. They like competing and they like to be on the top of the pile, so let’s bring the element of competition back and set a real challenge to win the economic fight-back.
I suggest during this GEW we all focus on a single target: let’s create 1m new companies in the UK over the coming year.
If the government believes that 500,000 new companies will be created in the ordinary course of a year, let’s seek to double it. In fact, I will repeat a suggestion I recently made to the business and enterprise minister. We should install a ticker on the front of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills showing the number of new companies created in real time. It’s a concept that certainly focuses the mind.
Let’s create the enterprise scorecard and start tracking the new businesses in the UK right away. The only thing that will lift us out of the economic doldrums is the creation of new businesses and we need to have a renewed and unified focus on our end goal.
Yes, let’s talk about enterprise, let’s advise, support and educate, but importantly, let’s be open about the impact we’re making and start clocking up those new business start-ups on the enterprise score card.