11/07/2011

By Marcus Leach, Head of Editorial at Fresh Business Thinking

The country's need for entrepreneurs and their businesses has never been greater according to Prime Minister David Cameron, who earlier this year declared war on enemies of enterprise, and vowed to rid the country of the mad bureaucracy which holds back entrepreneurs.

As Mr Cameron goes about slashing red tape to clear the way for a fresh wave of innovation and enterprise, the spotlight is falling on the country's leading educational establishments, where the entrepreneurs of tomorrow are nurtured. One of the foremost institutes for enterprise is London's Cass Business School, where the aim is to give "those nascent entrepreneurs who come to Cass a disproportionate chance of success."

"I think the starting point here is that you can't teach someone to be an entrepreneur," believes Nick Badman, Chair of the Peter Cullum Centre for Entrepreneurship at Cass Business School. "You need the individual to start with the right attitude and that's a combination of drive and a real desire to change something. They have to start with that kind of motivation. However, I believe if they have that kind of motivation what you can do is help them with the skills they need to have the greatest chance of success, and that is really what we are trying to achieve at Cass Business School."

Mr Badman, who has worked as an investor with some of the country's leading entrepreneurs over the last twenty years, fully supports the government's efforts to clear the way for entrepreneurial activity. However, he feels there is a cultural problem within the UK where failure is frowned upon, where in fact it should be viewed as a learning curve.

"We need society to be a little more tolerant and accepting of failure," Mr Badman said. "When people try and it doesn't work, as long as they have been honest and given it their best shot, we need a culture where it is easier for them to move on and do something else."

Not only does Cass Business School offer an extensive network of support, a wide variety of educational tools and expert mentoring, but unlike many other entrepreneurial establishments it offers its leading students, where deemed worthy, the funding to turn their ideas into reality.

“In the broadest sense the aim of the Peter Cullum Centre for Entrepreneurship is to encourage and facilitate entrepreneurship through the business school and Cass network," said Mr Badman. "Then, very specifically, we are trying to create and nurture some great new businesses by putting Cass quite literally inside those businesses via the Cass Entrepreneur Fund.”

The scheme in question is a £10 million venture capital fund aimed at providing growth equity to start-up and early stage companies emerging from the Cass community, which is coupled with the continued support of the Cass network. This is an area Mr Badman feels is essential to increasing businesses chances of success, in what is a highly competitive environment.

"Cass and the Peter Cullum Centre for Entrepreneurship offer support in three ways," Mr Badman explained. "Firstly through a series of very practical, real world programmes. Those range from our own 'New Venture Creation' programme, through to the various programmes that we run in conjunction with 'Your Business Your Future'.

"Secondly, at any one time we are offering both physical and virtual incubation to several promising young businesses. So we have space in the centre at Cass where we actually host these businesses and start-ups. And thirdly we are able to offer them financial support through funding."

Inspired by the challenge of creating an environment for the next generation of entrepreneurs, Mr Badman took on the role at Cass Business School to help overcome the many challenges facing entrepreneurs in today's business world. And, with the emergence of social networking sites breaking new ground, Mr Badman feels those challenges are decreasing.

Mr Badman took on the role at Cass inspired by the opportunity to create a unique environment, which fused the cultures of the commercial world with a successful Business School for the benefit of next generation entrepreneurs.

“Whilst some of the challenges are decreasing — and the growth of the internet and social networks are making it cheaper to start and easier to scale many businesses — the two big problems that persist are funding, a perennial challenge to SME’s, which is clearly why the link with funding is so important to Cass, and secondly the whole red tape and government process and bureaucracy is a challenge to people. The current government is trying to reduce that but it is a difficult procedure.

"The thrust of what the government is trying to do is correct, as the entire nation needs to be more enterprising in the sense of being more self reliant and trying to push boundaries and innovate with minimum resources. But I think generally, we need to do whatever we can to make people better equipped to do that."

Watch the video below featuring Gerard Burke of Your Business Your Future, discussing the 7 pillars of a better business.

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Create a better future for your business and yourself! Fresh Business Thinking LIVE! at Cass Business School is a one day event specifically designed for ambitious entrepreneurs and owner managers. Nick Badman will be introducing Fresh Business Thinking Live! at Cass Business School.

To book for the event on 7th September, click here