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Emma L. Jones Headshot

Have We Reached the Tipping Point?

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For two years we've seen record numbers of people, not just thinking about starting businesses, but actually going out there are doing it.

Increasingly the national enterprise campaign I co-founded, StartUp Britain, is being asked to join with events that would usually be the traditional domain of big graduate recruiters like banks, insurance houses and city institutions.

Last week we were asked to go to Warwick University to take a stall at an event called Kick. Organised and executed by business studies student Tom Watson, it focused on entrepreneurship, accelerators and start-ups, with traditional careers advisers prowling on the side lines.

Many of the young people we spoke to said they definitely were going to start a business. Many of them already had. What was interesting was that many of them weren't even sure what their business would be - but that didn't seem to be putting them off at all. This implies they are not worried about failure either. They are willing to take the risk.

We've also been asked to speak and help prepare fashion graduates for entrepreneurship at next month's Graduate Fashion Week at Earl's Court for the first time. Before this point, finding employment within the fashion industry was the sole focus.

Is it me, or is something happening here? Has the tipping point arrived? What we recognised that we needed to do at StartUp Britain was change the single-minded British sensibility with all arrows pointing towards employment.

With the publication of Lord Young's Growing Your Business report, uncovering proposals that will help to grow start-up and micro businesses, it seems that the Government and Lord Young are with me on this one.

What we need to tackle now is making the infrastructure and cultural change that will make growth and long-term development easier and more achievable for start-ups and micro businesses.

Lord Young's ideas are a good start. Growth vouchers, growth loans, a business bank and a good old hack at the red tape that precludes any new business from easily obtaining Government and local authority procurement, are a really good place to start.

This proposal represents opportunity and security for fledgling businesses looking to build - and to those that offer this trusted business, access to the kind of innovation and high energy that only comes with entrepreneurship.

At StartUp Britain we'd like to see this Government lead taken up by big business. We'd like to see them looking to work with this growing army of micro businesses too, with payment terms that match.

Only then will we begin to see the next tipping point on the horizon.