Since the recession we have seen a new breed of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) emerge in the UK. Modern entrepreneurs build lean companies, often with only a handful of employees, and focus all of their energy on a core strategic goal. These companies often grow in value quickly and achieve fantastic results within their specific sectors, but sometimes miss out on exposure to other companies and expertise in related areas and functions.
The trend towards narrower core focus for UK start-ups makes networking and chance encounters all the more important. Entrepreneurs are often too immersed in improving their own business to look at what is going on around them, and this could lead some to miss out on amazing opportunities for innovation in new markets. This positive market “disruption” is an increasingly important route to growth and success.
It is not enough to rely only on serendipity for opportunities to emerge. Entrepreneurs should seek to network where possible, but incubators, place makers and owners, plus government bodies can also support this mixing of ideas and cross-collaboration.
Tim Peake recently joined the International Space Station, the latest triumph of Britain’s rapidly growing space industry. But even in rocket science, these achievements are only possible through the pooling of skills between different groups – engineers, physicists and programmers, from the public and private sectors.
The strength of our entrepreneurs and economy rests on this spirit of teamwork coupled with great dedication, and those of us with the power to facilitate success have a responsibility to do so.
By Angus Horner, Harwell Campus Director