Paul Barry-Walsh is one of Britain’s most successful IT entrepreneurs, who built up (and sold for £170m) the computer security and outsourcing business, Safetynet. Instead of buying a yacht and fine-tuning his golf swing, Barry-Walsh has become probably the most prolific individual lender to micro-businesses in the UK, through his Fredericks Foundation
. More than 500 financially disadvantaged people have been loaned money by the foundation over the past six years. We were particularly struck by Barry-Walsh’s view that the small business is the perfect economic model and one which will proliferate in the future. “In a small business, every person matters and feels as if their contribution makes a difference," Barry-Walsh told Real Business. "In a big business, nobody really matters, even the chief executive.” Barry-Walsh is also deeply disgruntled about the muddled "target culture" thinking he witnesses in the public sector. “I met a local authority IT director who said he had to meet 158 different targets.," he says. "It’s madness! When you’re running a business, you measure three or four key performance indicators. Why do you think a car only has a speedometer and a couple of dials?!” You can read much more about Paul Barry-Walsh in next month’s Real Business.
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