23/07/09

Championing The Entrepreneur

By Guy Rigby, Director & Head of Entrepreneurs, Smith & Williamson

“There is a profound network orientation to business today. Companies that win know their place in the ecosystem in which they operate and crucially align the economics for the entire ecosystem.”

This explanation of “ecosystem economics” is just one of the many fascinating insights on enterprise in Britain today from Entrepreneur Country movement founder Julie Meyer. She believes that a silent majority of people in the UK want to live in “entrepreneur country” and are seeking the inspiration and tools to make the leap.
At Smith & Williamson we champion the cause of Entrepreneur Country, a community of entrepreneurs, investors, corporate partners and media, which aims to be a driving force behind entrepreneur-led economic growth in the UK and Europe over the coming decade.

Ecosystem economics

Julie Meyer, best known for founding First Tuesday, describes coming across the idea of ecosystem economics and seeing how successful it could be from the chief executive of a City-based mobile banking service. He was determined to make mobile banking work for everyone involved — the customer, bank and mobile operator. Other attempts at mobile banking failed because they had a dominant player in the ecosystem which was biased or would not let go of their market power.

According to Entrepreneur Country, some Government-funded organisations have also been involved in building an innovation ecosystem. An example of this is the Technology Strategy Board, which has identified various social and business challenges where innovation is necessary such as a low carbon or digital economy. Their model is to organise an ecosystem approach to meeting the challenge by aligning start-ups and corporates to work closely to achieve success.

By getting everyone from SMEs, to big corporates to government working together in an ecosystem, we will get nearer to achieving an ‘Entrepreneur Country’.

Achieving the vision

One important way that Britain can support the grassroots ecosystem is to treat SMEs as its cornershop. Everyone, including major corporates, needs to be encouraged to buy from smaller companies. Just because a business doesn’t have a multi-million pound balance sheet, it doesn’t mean it’s about to go bust! Julie adds that good executives should know how to manage the risk of dealing with entrepreneurs and should make buying from SMEs part of their corporate vision. This is something that we should all support.

Achieving the Entrepreneur Country vision means that the UK must develop into a nation that is big on enterprise. There’s a long way to go, but to get there the Government needs to provide tax incentives and reduce the tax burden on SMEs, the media must be encouraged to give more coverage to growth businesses, we must all think big and, crucially, educate the young to expect success.

As the Entrepreneur Country manifesto states: small does become big, and start-ups do change the world, in the process creating jobs, new industries, wealth and pride.

To find out more, or to join, visit www.entrepreneurcountry.net

For further information, contact:
Guy Rigby - 020 7131 8213 guy.rigby@smith.williamson.co.uk


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