There was another get-together at our (predominantly but not strictly) young entrepreneurs’ dinner recently. The current climate sparked lively debate on social entrepreneurship and its place in the commercial business world. Celebrity photographer Marcus Lyons opened the conversation with his entertaining speech and there were some strong, opposing views from the likes of Tom Allason and Seb Bishop. I genuinely believe the group boasts some of the best young business talent in the country and apparently word got round: an illustrious gatecrasher demanded a seat at the table.
Recently back from a meeting of former heads of state, a curious Sir James Mitchell – the former prime minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines – joined us for dinner and gave a well-received impromptu speech about the high esteem in which he and his ex-world-leader colleagues held entrepreneurs and the admiration they felt to those willing to risk it all to generate wealth and jobs.
Our own prime minister, whoever that may be next week/month/year, and his business secretary would do well to sit in the corner of our next meet up and listen to what people who have succeeded in establishing a business, often their first, have to say.
The government continually pledges to help small and new businesses. But those that need help the most never seem to get it. I’m mentoring two young entrepreneurs who need money right now and it’s not available to them, even through the many lenders who "support" the Enterprise Finance Guarantee. For many, the one thing they could use to secure finance – equity in their property – has evaporated. Plenty of people, myself included, would argue that a recession is the perfect time to establish a business built on solid foundations by necessity. There must be more help now to allow new businesses to flourish.
That is, of course, if this country is to truly maximise the opportunities afforded by an upturn in the economy. I do wonder, though, whether current government has any real interest in planning for that given their likely defeat at a general election. Perhaps that is the reason that proper help, where it’s needed, is not forthcoming.
And a final thought… Yasmina the latest Apprentice – not convinced.