As a speck of economic light appears at the end of the tunnel, and confidence seeps back into the system, there’s an important question we must ask about our future: is our post-financial crisis economy fit for purpose in a new, digital, mobile world? For Britain to thrive, businesses that see a different future – one driven by technology and the emerging power of social media; one that puts consumers in the driving seat in commerce and disrupts the “normal” way of doing things – must be celebrated. When we came up with the Everline idea, as part of a much bigger group, we were fortunate to have investors who recognised the potential in our business model that challenged convention about how financial services should work. With that backing in place, we listened to business customers, completed a lot of testing and market research and developed a convenient, flexible and relevant digital finance service to suit small businesses that don’t have the time or money to wait the weeks, or even months, that traditional lenders take to make a decision on lending. Having been given the support to challenge convention, we want to champion the other disruptive businesses that, like us, want to reorder their markets and build a different, more customer-focused future. Real Business, the UK’s first magazine for entrepreneurs, created the Future 50 project in 2011 to shine a spotlight on early-stage companies that see the future in a new way. Last year, the Future 50 shared some remarkable stories of early-stage business success, many of whom got huge encouragement and benefit from the recognition that the programme gave them. This year, we’re delighted to be working with Real Business to put together our “Everline Future 50” list of the UK’s most exciting, disruptive, next-generation businesses. Attitudes to entrepreneurship in the UK are moving in the right direction. Initiatives such as start-up loans and the creation of the British Library’s Business & IP Centre (which is rolling out across the UK) show that the message is getting through. But do entrepreneurs really get the credit they deserve? Does the UK public at large recognize that it’s these people and their businesses that will generate prosperity in the future? I think the message needs broadcasting, which is why Everline is thrilled to be supporting this project. I encourage you (if you’re hatching or running a disruptive early-stage business) to nominate yourself; or, if you know such a business, get behind them and put them forward. It’s a straightforward nomination process and, at the end of it, when we unveil the Everline Future 50, with Real Business, we’ll be throwing a party deserving of the emerging business talent in the UK. The deadline for nominations is January 6. Russell Gould is managing director ofEverline, the short-term digital lender for SMEs.
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