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Chuka Umunna

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We Must Do All We Can to Encourage the Restless

Posted: 07/02/2013 00:00

Today our economy is stuck in a rut, and it is young people who are bearing the brunt. We are in danger of creating a lost generation, whose first experience of work is unemployment. Our problem is not the lack of talent, ideas or creativity. Our problem is that too little of this entrepreneurial energy can find a way to express itself. This must change.

Together we must do all we can to encourage the restless who are constantly hunting for new ways of doing business, selling goods and services. It is why our schools, our colleges and our universities must nurture the ambitions of future entrepreneurs, every bit as much as they nurture ambitions for professional and skilled employment.

It is why we must do all that we can to ensure that those with good ideas can find the advice they need to generate viable business models, and access the finance that they need to grow. It is why we must do more to encourage learning from business failure - not condemnation - as well as the celebration of success.

I feel fortunate that I was exposed to entrepreneurship from a young age. My father, who grew up in Nigeria and who arrived in Britain in the 1960s with nothing but the suitcase he carried, set up a successful import export business. He was only able to realise his dream after doing whatever jobs he could find to make his way; washing cars, and pots and pans. And when he was able to save a little, the same spirit that had compelled him to leave his home now caused him to strike out on his own. From him I got an understanding of what motivates those who start their own businesses and become their own boss.

Just as the spirit of one entrepreneur shaped my life, so the spirit of the next generation of entrepreneurs will shape our nation's future. It is to the next generation of entrepreneurs that we will look for the businesses that will help our nation thrive in a fast changing world, the innovation that will improve our lives, and the good jobs that will strengthen our communities.

I am delighted that the Huffington Post UK is launching its new Young Talent page. I am sure it will become essential reading for young entrepreneurs, the restless spirits looking for sage advice. I know it will be valuable for me to get a window on your world, and the challenges you face. And I hope it will become a place that celebrates success, encourages learning and a builds a more supportive culture.

HuffPost UK's Young Talent section is now live! Want to be on it? Email: ukstudenteds@huffingtonpost.com
 

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