Telling the truth about SME life today

“Dear prime minister…” – 50-word letters from UK entrepreneurs

Recently, we surveyed some of the UK’s smartest entrepreneurs about their ideas, their concerns, and their predictions for the social and economical changes ahead of us. This research formed the basis of the Real Business Wonga Future 50 report.

The entrepreneurs surveyed gave us some fascinating insights, particularly in the answers to one of our questions:

“In 50 words, tell the prime minister David Cameron how to unleash Britain’s economic and entrepreneurial potential.”

Dear prime minister, these entrepreneurs’ 50-word letters brought to light a few recurring suggestions. It’s time to realise that, with these responses, some roadblocks on our way to economical success have been found. 

First, we need to start encouraging entrepreneurialism and creativity in students. Some inspiration in the classroom could encourage young people that having an idea can, indeed, mean making it work.

Secondly, small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) are now driving growth and investment, and they need more incentive and support to drive growth. As key contributors to innovation and economic growth, entrepreneurs need to be given more support, also.

Easier access to finance will mean an increase in growth. But more importantly, support must come in the form of mentoring. Support and encouragement in the right places are a mutually debated missing link between Britain’s entrepreneurial potential, and economic growth.

So here, dear prime minister, are ten 50-word letters to you.

“Its all about the tax incentives: start ups should not have to pay National Insurance tax or business rates on their offices until they reach a certain size. Qualification should be based on a combination of innovation and job creation. – Alex Rahaman, CEO of StrikeAd.

“The economy has to be a people economy, so cuts that affect a ‘part’ of society doesn’t work. Removing troops from the middle-east will reduce military costs and put more money in the pot for everyone, thus enabling investors to widen their current myopic view on investing in British entrepreneurs. – Suzanne Lestrade-Orji, founder of

“It is imperative that the education system sit up and listen. There are 3,000 job vacancies in Ireland alone for IT skilled graduates, but they rely on Indian immigrants. Schools should be exposing kids to entrepreneurs for inspiration and realise that types of employment have changed radically. – Grainne Kelly, founder of BubbleBum UK Ltd.

“Inspire innovation. Help families and communities to want to work. Having a society with third generation unemployed is unacceptable in the UK. The work ethic has been lost in so many communities. Change the environment, so that it’s not too easy for people to ‘choose’ to be unemployed. – Donnie Maclean, founder of Eat Balanced. 

“There are many great entrepreneurs in the UK who have fantastic ideas who need real assistance through mentoring and, ultimately, through investment. Investors need greater incentives for high risk investments and founders need relief for the enormous sacrifices they make for their staff and businesses. – Graham Turner, co-founder of Polestar Digital Media.

?Don’t give undue attention to incumbent industry heavyweights and their lobbyists. Listen to the smaller, more innovative players in industry and find ways to accelerate change rather than support the status quo. – Toby Ferenczi, co-founder of Engensa.

“Invest in women, societies’ natural entrepreneurs, who can multitask and find a way to make things succeed. The government needs to provide the infrastructure, so that men can share the responsibility (and joys) of childcare, giving everyone an equal opportunity to pursue their careers and build businesses of the future. – Julia Grinham, co-founder of Upperstreet.

Britain rightly talks about the importance of SMEs in the revival of the economy; yet there is little evidence of enough being done. Cuts are inevitable but too many are creating the real danger that the economy is being pushed too far down the brink for a meaningful recovery. – Alok Mathur, co-founder of Soul Tree Wines.

“Minimise regulation, complexity and bureaucracy, especially with regard to employing people. Maintain or increase the support for the Technology Strategy Board or similar bodies for technology transfer and early-stage market evaluation and development. – Eric Mayes, CEO of Endomagnetics.

?Give new businesses the chance to grow by forcing the banks to lend without massive interest rates and prejudices. Reduce the corporation tax and give tax breaks to new business start ups. Also, tighten up the employment laws to help protect employers. – Elaine and Jason Foreman, founders of KinetlQue Ltd.


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