What a long way we have come. I can remember when we administered the first £1million. It seemed like a huge milestone. It seems like only yesterday we had provided loans to 5,000 businesses and now we have passed the 10,000th milestone. We should be very proud of what we have achieved, but there is still a long way to go...
While working as a consultant in London a few years ago, I remember it as a "suit city" like New York. However, over the past two years, a lot of investment has been committed to change this - as evidenced by the Sirius Programme. This shows that the British government is taking this movement sirius-ly and will support its growth over the coming years.
Every good business knows that you can never let a crisis go to waste. To turn this crisis into our opportunity we must, like Mr Meyer and his fire station, start from the basics. The first flagship and most daring policy of an entrepreneurial public sector would be making Britain the best place on earth to start a new business.
If a man runs a business he is generally seen as successful, ambitious, reputable, strong, powerful and a target of admiration for all. He will never get called 'bossy' for telling people what to do. In contrast, if a woman runs a business it is usually seen as a problem. What's wrong with her? Can she not have kids? Did someone give her the money to fund this little project?
I did go to Uni, but not out of a choice or really wanting to, mainly due to social pressures that make every young person feel they should, or have to. As a result I dropped out after 1-year to set up my own business making and selling jewellery, which turned out to be the best decision I ever made.
Given the current state of economic affairs in Great Britain, not to mention Europe, and indeed the rest of the world, it's no surprise that just about every business is cutting back on expenditure wherever possible. If you're thinking about where to make savings in your own business, here are some important areas to consider.
The recession, it seems, has increased the desirability of joining, continuing (or even restarting) a family-run business, which can often escape problems around financing, leadership and decision-making (even if arguments may get a little bit more heated). So can tradition, family ties and heritage still resonate with the UK's young entrepreneurs?
So why don't we spend money with our local independent retailers? Why do we insist on hitting Debenhams for our clothes, Sainsbury's for our food and B&Q for our homeware or furniture? We all know the dire situation that independent business owners face yet we do nothing. Does it come down to price? Yes, maybe it does in some cases, but I think there's more to it than that.
At 41, I had a baby. Followed 17 months later by another... and all the life-skewing, skin-flaying emotions they have brought with them... so, what next? I set up my own business and Big Fish Little Fish Productions - running family club events on weekend afternoons - was born. A micro-festival for the post-rave generation of parents and children.
Progress definitely also needs to be made in the healthcare sector. As I developed my company there were no women chairs or CEOs of large healthcare providers who I could look up to and seek inspiration from. Senior male healthcare managers have, quite literally, turned their back on me on a number of occasions. It is important that women entrepreneurs share their experiences and skills to benefit and support others.
One of the biggest challenges for young people today is a fear of failure - they tend to be risk averse. Failure in the UK is frowned upon whereas in the USA it is far more widely accepted - for many investors a failure or two are known to add worldly experience and potentially make them a more likely investment as they will have learnt from their failures.
I am an entrepreneur with a passion for business. For a long time Ben & I pondered upon the idea of setting up and running our own business. On the 1st June 2012 our business dream became a reality and we established YourStudentShoes.com. How did we start it?!...Well it was with £500 left from a student loan.