“Stop stigmatising failure and cut taxes” – Ernst & Young

In advance of the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Summit in France this week, Ernst & Young has released a new report, Entrepreneurs Speak Out, looking at what is stopping entrepreneurs get started and build fast-growth businesses.

While the UK is not a bad place to start up – it takes an average of 13 days, compared to 22 days in the G20 – access to funding remains difficult for 72 per cent of UK entrepreneurs.

“Future business leaders are positive about the enterprise culture in the UK, but it’s clear there is a great deal of work necessary to ensure that the entrepreneurial culture reaches the levels enjoyed by the US, India and China,” says Bob Forsyth, head of UK SMEs at E&Y.

“The continuing problems of bank lending, dismal IPO appetite, and insufficient tax incentives are limiting future growth, making it harder for entrepreneurs to invest and create jobs. There needs to be further support for SMEs looking to drive exports – the likely most powerful driver of UK business and employment success.”

The report also highlights five key pillars to build a successful enterprise environment:

1. Construct a solid entrepreneurial culture – The report recommends further improvements to acknowledge entrepreneurs’ strong contribution to innovation and job creation, while creating a culture that does not stigmatise failure. 

2. Education and training: a broader scope is needed – Entrepreneurship education should start as early as primary schools and continue through to universities and business schools, while it should also be supplied to those moving from corporate roles to their own ventures.

3. Access to funding: it is vital to tap into diverse sources – Access to funding continues to be the most significant challenge. While the gvernment should support bank lending for entrepreneurs, they may benefit from turning to other sources of funding for start-ups. Funding from venture capital for instance has increased by 62 per cent in terms of the sums of equity invested between 2005 and 2010.

4. Regulation and taxation: Good progress, but regulation can improve to encourage innovation. Less time is spent on tax issues than in other mature markets (110 hours per year) compared with the mature market average of 197 hours in 2011. The most impactful incentives are clearly targeted at encouraging innovation and ensuring the impact is regularly measured.

5. Coordinated support: time to team – Government agencies, business incubators, university resources and training programmes have clearly improved their level of support in the last five years. But entrepreneurs expect them to better coordinate their efforts to unlock greater entrepreneurial activity. They should particularly focus their support for young generations of entrepreneurs and to help them expand internationally.

What would you say his holding back UK enterprise? Leave your comments below.

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