In the wake of last week’s Comprehensive Spending Review and the knowledge that 500,000 public sector jobs are going to go, I was keen to learn just how the government intended the private sector absorb these redundancies.
On Monday the PM gave a speech at the CBI Annual Conference, I had high hopes for what he would say about Entrepreneurialism in the UK, that rising from the recession meant that the worst was over, but now I fear that the worst is yet to come.
David Cameron talked of how he wanted to encourage an environment in which businesses were confident to invest. He talked of launching Britain’s first ever National Infrastructure Plan, which he stated would unlock around £200 billion of private and public sector investment. He made bold statements about how Britain needs to back not only the big business of today, but also the big business of tomorrow. These are all encouraging statements, but during a time when Cameron is expecting the private sector to bail out, or support public services we need to know what’s in it for us.
As far as I am concerned waiving National Insurance contributions for new businesses in “most” areas of the country is a drop in the ocean. What we need is funding and investment in small businesses and start ups to improve. Potential business owners need to know that they will no longer be turned away when they have worked hard to develop business plans and projections in preparation meetings with, VCs, Private Equity and even our trusty old Bank managers.
The UK has some of the most exciting Entrepreneurs in the world and many phenomenal businesses, but unless we sort out the funding of these business I fear that much like the ’Great Brain Drain’ of post war europe, the UK will continue to lose it’s exciting, profitable businesses to Silicon Valley where funding is much easier.
I personally know of two brilliant British entrepreneurs that, within the last four month have packed up and moved their business to the US. One of those great businesses, Huddle secured a substantial round of funding within weeks of hitting US shores.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Yuuguu, a business that I recently purchased could no longer obtain funding in the UK, so we stepped in to support them and help them grow their business through to profitability, whilst a competitor in the US received another substantial round of funding, giving them a financial foot up over Yuuguu. I am not bitter, I love this country and hate seeing our best talent leave, but unless the government supports businesses to achieve growth that allows investment as they do in the States then I fear for our long term success.
I don’t want to sound entirely negative. I think we are heading in the right direction. The things that I heard on Monday made me feel like this country will now be run in a more businesslike manner. I really hope Cameron doesn’t miss this opportunity. Now is the time to act, now is the time to really inspire the private sector and small business so we have an economy with strong growth in the present and in the future.