Wonga and Real Business partner for the 2012 "Wonga Future 50", the definitive analysis of high-potential UK businesses triggering change in their markets. A view from Wonga CEO Errol Damelin...
THE OFFICIAL UNVEILING OF THE WONGA FUTURE 50, WITH REAL BUSINESS, TAKES PLACE AT A SPECIAL GLOBAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP WEEK EVENT ON WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 14 AT THE BRITISH LIBRARY. TO APPLY TO ATTEND, EMAIL ANDY WHALLEY ON email@example.com
"We founded Wonga to disrupt financial services and provide people with a fresh alternative to traditional sources of credit. We saw the power of technology to change the logic of the industry - using data to provide rapid yet accurate loan decisions online.
"We have now provided millions of small loans and the feedback from customers is overwhelmingly positive, because they value the control we give them, combined with a transparent price.
"I know how much it takes to change an industry. We've fought hard to overcome technical challenges and answer the doubters. We've raised funds in the middle of a financial crisis, insisted on only hiring only the very best and battled to keep an entrepreneurial culture as we’ve grown. There are still many mountains to conquer and being an entrepreneur is not for the faint-hearted, not when you’re trying to change the world.
"Through hard work, focus and determination, we've enjoyed success and today we're one of the UK's fastest-growing businesses. With success comes responsibility, not only to our customers but also to the next generation of entrepreneurs – the next wave of big-thinkers and big-doers, as they too strive to change old markets and create new ones. All around me, I see new businesses emerging and turbo-charged entrepreneurs who don't accept no for an answer. But we need more.
"So we've decided to create the Wonga Future 50, together with Real Business, to help identify, celebrate and, critically, support the most exciting early-stage UK businesses that are launching new products and services to trigger change.
"Why do we need to get behind these businesses? Put simply, they're our future. In the UK, we need to get much better at recognising and supporting them. It's almost a cliché, but in the US they really do celebrate entrepreneurs and they give them an infrastructure to help them succeed. There's an ecosystem of smart investors, technical talent, ambitious management and an appreciative culture that yields high levels of bold new businesses.
"I believe we would benefit from such a culture, so we're putting our money where our mouth is and trying to help make it happen. We’re working with Real Business to build a launch pad for Britain's most high-potential businesses as they release new products to market.
"Research is already under way to identify this year's Wonga Future 50, which we'll be releasing during Global Entrepreneurship Week, at a special event on Wednesday November 14. Our event will be held at the British Library - another organisation dedicated to the success of growth businesses. Partnering with them will be another way to offer 50 outstanding start-ups the best chance of success.
"Britain's future prosperity lies with innovative businesses and entrepreneurs - those who have the courage and determination to reach for the stars and build the growth engines of the future."
Errol Damelin is CEO and co-founder of Wonga. The full unveiling of the Wonga Future 50, published with Real Business, will be made a special Global Entrepreneurship Week event at the British Library on Wednesday November 14. If you'd like to apply to attend, tweet us at @realbusiness using the hashtag #wonga50 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The 2011 Future 50 included some of the UK's hottest new businesses such as Songkick, which went on to become the first UK business to secure funding from US venture capital firm Sequoia Capital, and the disruptive hotelier, OneFineStay.