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Champions of entrepreneurial Britain: Part 2

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Nigel Kershaw/John BirdLast year, the Big Issue founders set up Big Issue Invest to provide financial help to social businesses. It’s helped 23 enterprises; the average loan is £200,000 and the minimum is £50,000. Big Issue Invest is also launching the Social Enterprise Investment Fund, targeting foundations, charitable investors and high-net-worth individuals and providing risk capital to social enterprises.

Ronald CohenCohen is one of the country’s most successful businessmen, having built Apax Partners into one of the biggest private equity houses in Europe. Through Bridges Ventures, he now works to address social deprivation in Britain through private sector commercial solutions.

Peter Jones A Dragon but, more importantly, the founder of the National Enterprise Academy (NEA), which aims to stimulate entrepreneurial activity in Britain and instil in our youngsters a can-do attitude. Twenty-seven students started a six-month taster course at the NEA in January, with the first batch of students starting at the college full-time in September. Jones hopes to establish NEAs in nine regions of England and then move into Scotland and Wales. The aim? Twelve-thousand students through the doors by 2012. Oh, and in his spare time (what little he has), he chairs Enterprise Insight, which runs Make Your Mark.

Richard Lambert Where there’s a business issue, there’s Lambert. The former editor of the Financial Times and Monetary Policy Committee member became director-general of the CBI in July 2006 and has been a tireless campaigner for the rights of enterprise. Both sophisticated and blunt, he’s been a balanced and influential voice since Britain plunged into recession in 2008. In particular, he’s highlighted the value of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills and apprenticeships to the UK economy. As a result, the government has put forward policy proposals to expand apprenticeships and is ploughing money into increasing the number of young people studying STEM.

Check back tomorrow for more champions of entrepreneurial Britain. Tell us who you’d like to see on our list of enterprise heroes by posting a comment below.

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Related articles:Champions of entrepreneurial Britain: Part 1 Big Issue chairman: “Social enterprise investors need tax breaks too”“Entrepreneurs have a social responsibility”Peter Jones: “Entrepreneurship is not in the blood”“Just get on with it,” says Lambert

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