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Government contracts are 'genuinely immoral', says Silva

An ex-government technology strategist wants to start a union for entrepreneurs so they can secure more government contracts.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 23 Sep 2013
As if the government isn’t having enough problems with trade unions at the moment, what with the Communication Workers’ Union attempting to thwart the Royal Mail flotation with a strike; now one of David Cameron’s former advisers wants to create a new trade union: a union for entrepreneurs.

Rohan Silva, a former senior policy adviser on technology and entrepreneurship, said at an event in London’s Shoreditch last night that the lack of small firms securing government contracts is ‘genuinely immoral’.

A union for entrepreneurs might sound like a strange idea - after all, back in the 19th century when the trades unions were established, entrepreneurs were the very people they were designed to fight against. But Silva’s point is that as well as fighting for workers’ rights, unions create a voice for them - which could be helpful to small businesses.

‘Politicians do care about startups, but they’re dispersed everywhere - how do you find them?’ he said.

‘They don’t have lobbying people, they don’t have public affairs people, they’re not in and out of Whitehall the whole time. Small businesses are massively failed by the groups that are supposed to stand for them. There should be a trade union for entrepreneurs.’

It’s an oft-quoted complaint that small businesses don’t have enough access to government contracts. But Silva is one of the few on the entrepreneurs’ side to acknowledge that it isn’t that the government doesn’t want to involve small firms - it’s just that finding the companies offering the right services is a challenge. Whether entrepreneurs themselves agree isn't so sure...

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