By Marcus Leach at White Hart Lane
As Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) was launched at Tottenham Hotspur's White Hart Lane on Monday the message coming from the government was loud and clear, that despite apparent doom and gloom there is plenty of good news for entrepreneurs and small businesses.
Mark Prisk, Minister for Business and Enterprise, began his keynote speech by stressing that, whilst the government is striving to ensure Britain is the best possible place to start and grow a business, there still needs to be more done to support those taking the reigns themselves. Mr Prisk is under no illusion that the world of entrepreneurialism is often a daunting one, but believes such initiatives as GEW are vital to the continued recovery of the British economy.
"I think such initiatives are really important because whilst we see bad news from the eurzone and so on, there is actually some great news out there," Mr Prisk said, speaking exclusively to Fresh Business Thinking.
"What businesses like and need is confidence, so what this week is about, combined with the other work we are doing in terms of business mentoring for example, is all about fostering that sense of confidence. And you see, amongst the young people who are getting their first taste of what enterprise is about a real enthusiasm for being their own boss, so these initiatives are hugely important."
However, with so many initiatives and schemes being launched to support entrepreneurs and small businesses over the past year, there is a fear that there are too many diluting the marketplace. Should there not, therefore, be a focus on quality over quantity? Not in the eyes of Mr Prisk, who believes there needs to be as much help and advice on offer as possible.
"The approach I am taking is we need to foster as many bright ideas as possible, as the good ones will win out in the end," he said. "So what we are trying to do is not to run everything but facilitate and enable, and the flowering of many ideas is not a problem, I would be more than happy to see a thousand ideas blooming successfully."
Given the current state of the economy, which admittedly is not as bad as counterparts in Greece and Italy, there is a need to start seeing results from government initiatives and support schemes. Mr Prisk, whilst admitting more still needs to be done on an ongoing basis, is happy that the early results of the government's focus on entrepreneurialism are becoming increasingly more tangible.
"We are beginning to see results," he said. "This last year we have seen a net improvement of 138,000 companies in the economy. The previous year we saw a fall of 139,000, so what that tells me is that people have got that confidence to get out there and go for it. That's what I did when I started my own business in the last recession, and what people are now, as we come into recovery, are doing now.
"So I think there are good signs out there, so what we need to do is show them where they can get the information, where they can get the business mentor and we are building on our changes, on the cutting of red tape, reduction of corporate taxes and making sure that, through the banks, they [businesses and entrepreneurs] have access to finance. It's a concerted effort and every day we are making sure we add to that."
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