The national campaign kicks off today in Leeds. The aim: to try and help people realise their entrepreneurial dreams and take their ideas to market. Some pretty impressive business owners have been drafted in to inspire and inform too. From Wendy Tan White, co-founder of Moonfruit (one of the few businesses to survive the dotcom bust) to Richard Moross, boss of custom business card firm Moo, nine entrepreneurs are lending their clout to the campaign.
What’s this? The PM’s waded in too? Well, no Startup Britain initiative would be the same without a David Cameron soundbite: ‘Small businesses and entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of the British economy,’ he says. ‘I am determined that we, working with the private sector, do everything we can to help them to start up and to grow in 2012.
‘I want to encourage people to go for it and make this the year of enterprise,’ he goes on, ‘whether that is fulfilling their dream of starting a new business or taking the leap to grow their business, to employ more staff, or to start exporting.’
Lots of good buzzwords in there. But will this campaign actually make a dent in the one million people that Startup Britain hopes to inspire to start a business over the next three years? Well, reach is a problem. There’s no budget for TV advertising, so the campaign is being promoted solely through billboards, radio, and trade and newspaper advertising in the UK’s major cities. And will the ‘What’s the business in you’ idea really inspire people to actually take the leap? Or is it just empty marketing fluff?
MT thinks it’s a nice idea, if somewhat fantastic. If you discover that the business ‘in you’ is a Mars-based uranium mining company, you may struggle to get that off the ground. Presumably, Startup Britain is hoping you’ll aim a little lower: a coffee shop, p’raps. Or a web design agency. Nice, achievable things. But that’s the problem with dreams, they’re rarely that pragmatic.