By Hartmut Wagner, Managing Director Cloud Solutions Exact
There are many things the UK should rightly be proud of. For me though, one of the country’s biggest success stories lies in the economic environment that exists here at the minute. Small businesses now dominate the landscape, making up 99.9% of all businesses and employing 24 million people between them. They have become the lifeblood of the UK economy.
But why should this be worthy of such praise? Because with these small businesses comes an entrepreneurial spirit that is second to none and which flies in the face of global difficulties, with more and more seeing opportunity where others only see gloom.
More people than ever are starting their own business, with 2013 set to be a record-breaking year. According to Startup Britain, an estimated 523,410 new businesses are expected to get off the ground by the end of year. At the heart of this uplifting statistic lies a change in cultural thinking, one where people are saying to themselves: “OK, so there might not be a lot of jobs available, but I’m not going to sit back and wait – I’m going to take matters into my own hands and give it a go.” There’s a real sense that people are defying the global economic hardships and turning their hobbies and passions into work, and doing so with a real sense of self-belief. That mindset is something to be proud of and one that others should take huge inspiration from.
The good news is that the climate appears to be right to support this can-do attitude of many small business owners and leaders.
For one thing there is plenty of financial and legislative support, with the government placing a good deal of faith in entrepreneurs and business start-ups to help kick-start economical revival. And, to a large degree, it has put its money where its mouth is. There have been several high profile initiatives rolled out, including the well documented Funding for Lending initiative; tax breaks offered for angel investors through the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme, as well as last week’s announcement of the British Business Bank’s £300m investment programme that includes things like a £1 million Sector Mentoring Challenge Fund to “enable firms to benefit from support and advice from experienced business people in their own field of work”.
There are also plenty of high-profile entrepreneurs who are throwing their weight behind these efforts, like former Dragon Den panellists Peter Jones, who has set up his own Enterprise Academy, and James Caan who, among other things, has taken on the role of chairman of the Government’s Start up Loans scheme.
What’s more, with many larger organisations feeling the pinch and making cutbacks, leaner, more agile small businesses have been able to nip in and win contracts and sell services which were previously the preserve of big companies. For example, there has been a greater push among public sector organisations to open up tendering to small businesses – creating new opportunities that until recently weren’t really available to them.
These combined factors should further fuel this growing trend and help make it easier for start-ups and small businesses to succeed, and in doing so continue to position the UK as a shining example of entrepreneurial success.
From our own perspective at Exact, this is a really exciting time to be bringing our portfolio of business and finance software to this inspiring market place, particularly as more small businesses than ever are demanding greater and more holistic insights to better manage their businesses. We will certainly be doing our part to help ensure that the UK remains at the forefront of this entrepreneurial age, and are proud to be sponsoring the Great British Entrepreneur Awards as part of that commitment.
Exact is a leading global supplier of financial and business software