Perhaps the US isn’t the best place to be a small business after all. According to research by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (http://bit.ly/4DES0T). The US has long seen itself as the home of entrepreneurship – ignoring GW Bush’s gaff ‘The thing that’s wrong with the French is that they don’t have a word for entrepreneur’ – with low tax, low regulation and more flexible labour market. But how does the US compare with other nations? Self-employment and small businesses is one way to measure entrepreneurship. The US has 7.2% self-employment compared with 13.8% in the UK and a staggering 26.4% in Italy. Does this really mean that Italy is more entrepreneurial that the US?
What is clear to policymakers in Europe is the need to promote entrepreneurial behaviour as a means of economic growth but also as a means of achieving sustainable enterprise – ‘Inspiring young entrepreneurs to build a better tomorrow’ (http://bit.ly/4ofCfb).
The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) (http://www.accaglobal.com) seems to think so. In fact, Robin Jarvis, Head of SME affairs at ACCA, said ‘For years individual equity investors have been out of the limelight, first hit by the dotcom bust, then crowded out by easy credit and now discouraged by the economic climate’ in the Financial Times on 14th September 2009. (http://bit.ly/8UCnyr)
The ACCA have proposals for helping entrepreneurs to create realistic valuations of their businesses, greater support for business angel networks and improvements to tax incentives, notably the Enterprise Investment Scheme.
Maybe it’s entrepreneurs that need wings to get their new ventures off the ground. Although, Geoff Britton, director of GBAC Accountancy & Business Service (http://www.gbac.co.uk), warns ‘Create an environment where businesses prosper’ but ‘don’t over-assist’.
But where do you find a business angel (with or without wings)? You could start with the British Business Angels Association (BBAA) (http://www.bbaa.org.uk) or if you are looking for something between business angels and venture capitalist, at British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (BVCA) (http://www.bvca.co.uk), you could try MMC Ventures (http://www.mmcventures.co.uk)
Time to belt up and get ready for take off!
So Sir Alan has been offered a role as an adviser to small businesses or ‘Enterprise Tsar’ for short (http://bit.ly/7W3MG6). The Conservatives think Sir Alan must choose between working for the government and working for the BBC’s The Apprentice. (http://bit.ly/7KsHzn). Are they right?
But what is in the interests of the 4.7 million small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK?
What we do know is that politicians tend to go to university then into parliament perhaps having had a job in the public sector. But with less than 10% having more than 10 years of business experience, and most of this will be with corporations, do that need a like sugar to sweeten politics?
Whether we like Sir Alan or not he does know a like bit more about business than your average MP so why not forgot the politics and get real. A caring nation needs to generate wealth from a successful economy is driven innovation fuelled by entrepreneurship.
I don’t normally take sugar but perhaps today I’ll have a lump or two!