We see it on the news, it's on everyone's tongues and it's got the political elite squirming. Double dip recessions, rises in unemployment, bailouts, the list could go on. The world economy is experiencing, what some may describe as, an economic wobble; others whisper a meltdown.
So what is Whitehall and the rest of society doing in their contribution to bringing the good times back? We've heard of austerity measures endlessly decorated, taxing the rich hard and investing in growth.
However one other movement that has been gaining momentum in the background and is now being championed by the government is: the rise of the entrepreneur. Some may call them the free wheeling mavericks, who are going to drag us out of this hole. Give them the space and a few grants and they'll make things happen. However the art of the start up is not that straight forward and the government is rightly implementing their own initiatives to help support entrepreneurs and the movement as a whole.
Tax breaks, reduction of red tape, active support through such programmes as Start Up Britain have all been implemented to help entrepreneurs. Just last month the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) launched the start up loans scheme to feed young entrepreneurs with that all important cash flow to get them going.
The government are starting to believe in the enterprise movement so much that they are now investing in the future UK enterprise by financially backing such schemes as the National Association of College and University Entrepreneurs (NACUE) who are playing an important role in the education of the next generation of young entrepreneurs.
However, despite the government delivering positive concrete initiatives rather than just supporting the entrepreneurship cause, is their current plan really the right one to aid a high impact programme that can genuinely contribute to helping kick start the economy?
The economic reality of the start up land scape is that of the 300,000 businesses that are started in the UK each year, only a very small proportion contribute disproportionately to economic growth and job creation. Research from NESTA has indicated that the fastest growing 6% of companies in the UK create over half the new jobs!
Surely then it is the governments obligation to focus and champion these types of companies? We therefore need to ask whether the generalized enterprise initiatives are really enough to help propel these 6% of companies and entrepreneurs that can really have a big difference? We only have to look across the pond to the USA and in particular Silicon Valley, where we see some of the most successful companies of our generation: Google, Apple and Twitter to name but a few growing exponentially in only a few years by leveraging all the assets at their disposal to create impact. The Valley, as it has become to be known, is a mecca for sucking up talent and spitting it out in some of the most innovative and high impact entrepreneurial ventures imaginable, all while helping to contribute massively to the US economy.
Admittedly a large proportion of the founding and growth of Silicon Valley has been organic. However it is imperative for the government to not just focus on generalised schemes to garner enterprise interest but they should be focusing on establishing our own high impact enterprise metropolises.
However despite the UK being some way behind our US counterparts there are some positive signs. There is a stirring in London and Old Street with the steady rise of the types of high impact tech firms that have made a name for them selves in the US. On top of this there has been the roll out of talent schemes such as Entrepreneur First with the objective of recruiting and supporting some of the UK's brightest young technology graduates into a high technology acceleration programme.
Proof that this type of accelerated growth can be achieved through technology has been seen in pockets across the UK. Danny Ashton, founder of Neo Mam, an online content specialist agency, learned his trade over the last five years and launched his own agency seven months ago. Neo Mam is already employing six people, and has contracts with some of the UK's biggest brands. This success has only been able to be acquired through the rapid deployment and value added from web-based services. This rapid growth would have been unthinkable with a traditional bricks and mortar company.
Whatever the future does hold for the UK's economy, the rise of the high impact enterprise is definitely on the increase. Whether the government can accelerate and proliferate this sort of attitude towards high-impact Entrepreneurship is still work in progress. However if they can provide the right eco-system to propel high-impact entrepreneurship we could see a massive change in the entrepreneurial landscape for generations to come.
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