The coalition government has been very vocal about its belief in the potential for the private sector to drive the UK economy, and is putting a lot of effort into encouraging entrepreneurs to set up on their own (e.g. Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme, Capital Gains Tax holidays etc).
As a former entrepreneur and an investor in growth companies, I am concerned that we are setting ourselves up for a monumental wave of failure.
Starting your own business isn't easy. Even with all the funding in the world, unless you have the right combination of an outstanding idea, a large and consistent addressable market, and the rare ability to persevere even when those around you are telling you 'no' - you will not succeed.
There is the reason why more than 70 per cent of new businesses fail after 18 months.
I am passionate about entrepreneurship and spend my working life seeking out people with aspirations for greatness as well as the key attributes to make their dreams a reality.
However, great entrepreneurs comprise less than 10 per cent of the working population. They are the exceptions to every business rule that was ever written. Many people won't make the grade.
Encouraging everyone to pursue the entrepreneurial path just doesn't make sense. Over the longer term, doing so could do more damage to our collective confidence than good.
The risks are far, far lower when it comes to supporting well-established small or medium-sized businesses with ambitions for growth -- and the potential is vast. Consequently, I would like to see more initiatives to help proven businesses grow into mighty oaks.
If you are in the top five per cent of your particular talent pool, and are truly passionate about what you do, my advice is to take entrepreneurial risk. The economy needs people who are willing to take a calculated risk to follow their dream and change their life - and the lives of others - in the process.
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