“The RDA really helped my first startup. Every entrepreneur needs advice and support at the beginning of their career and RDA courses are a good, cheap way of amassing information. The RDA definitely contributed to my success in business,” says Ragan.
Nine RDAs across the country are being abolished by the new government. The south-west branch is the latest to get the axe: the Treasury issued a moratorium to it on Monday, blocking further funding for projects under the Objective One programme that matches EU development cash. Projects at risk include high-speed broadband connections across Cornwall, continued development at Newquay Airport and environmental schemes including an offshore wave energy hub
“The government, through RDAs, must support enterprise if business is to lead the growth necessary for us to trade our way out of the economic deficit. There needs to be focus on further investment to boost support for the ten per cent of businesses with high-growth potential across all sectors,” says Ragan.
A study sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers in 2009 discovered that every £1 invested in regional economies reaped a return of £4.50. Some of the RDA’s functions will be replaced by new agencies – to be called Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) – which will address issues like planning, housing and supporting enterprise. Other roles will be taken back under the umbrella of central government.
Ragan founded insurance brokerage Motaquote in Cardiff in the early nineties. He was 23 years old and had left school in Sheffield with few qualifications. By 2008, Paul opened three cold start branches, led a successful MBO, completed 16 acquisitions and sold to a London VC for £20m. Paul is involved in over 20 businesses, runs his own investment fund and is a founder member of Collateral Thinking.
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