At last week’s Conservative Party Annual Conference, David Cameron made a speech pledging to build an ‘aspiration nation’ in order to boost Britain’s economy - and who are we to disagree?
We should support initiatives that can inspire would-be entrepreneurs to participate in and build on the foundations of the UK’s already vibrant start-up community. Start-ups play a vital role in the economy: as well as the obvious benefits of job creation and increased tax revenues, they foster innovation to generate enough cash to survive and grow. They also drive bigger companies to innovate by competing to create the next big thing.
Start-ups are also uniquely positioned to develop a well-rounded work force. Working at a start-up means you get exposure to much more of the business than at a larger firm. Whether it’s marketing, accounts or HR it’s likely as an employee of a start-up, you’d have some dealings with multiple departments or functions.
That means individuals develop a wider range of skills much more quickly. The multi-skilled CV is really attractive for prospective employers and when you can gain so much at a start-up, the potential they provide for career development opportunities should not be underestimated.
Britain already has many of the building blocks in place to give start-ups a really good basis for success, but the devil is in the detail. To really capitalise on the opportunities presented by the start-up community, the government must support and encourage both prospective investors and the businesses themselves. Investors need to be savvy.
For the start-ups, advice is key: if they are the lifeblood of UK business, then mentoring is the nervous system. For us, it is practical guidance and value-adding investment that will lead to long-term success when starting a business. There is a wealth of experienced businesspeople that are more than willing to pass on their expertise. Connecting these established entrepreneurs with the right start-ups to provide invaluable advice and support throughout the early years of a business is vital.
Achieving the right partnership between the government and the private sector will also be crucial in driving investment in, and opportunities for, the businesses of the future. Through the right type of collaboration, there is the real opportunity to create a culture that will deliver a launch pad for start-ups to flourish.
James King is the founder of Find Invest Grow. ??