Enterprise Week – British Library launch debate

As Global Entrepreneurship Week 2009 takes off, SmallBizPod reports from the launch event at the British Library.

16th November 2009 at 10:52 am

Live blogging from the British Library launch event for Global Entrepreneurship Week.

Lord Mandellson appears in a pre-recorded message to offer encouraging words like the UK governement is ‘focused on maintaining a business environment that supports entrepreneurship’, which many would dispute. Probably the right decision, not to make a personal appearance.

Dr Carl Schramm, CEO of the Kauffman Foundation

Dr Karl Schramm of the Kauffman Foundation and Jim O'Neill of Goldman SachsDr Carl Schramm, CEO of the Kauffman Foundation, launched a project to understand the science of entrepreneurship. Business formation turns up in recession.

Entrepreneurship has helped spark recovery in the last seven recessions according to the Foundation’s research.

“Messy capitalism is the way forward, not government industrial policy.”

“In recessions all economists go home and head towards interventionist approach.”

But the economy is the aggregation of business growth and failure. Nearly 40% of US GDP will be derived from firms that were created in 1980.

“Sometimes Global Entrepreneurship Week looks like an entrepreneurial cheer-leading event. But there is a profound change taking place.”

Jim O’Neil Head of Global Economics Research at Goldman Sachs

Jim highlights massive growth of Brazil, Russia, India and Chinas as the man who coined the BRICS acronym.


Carl Schramm reckons there’s a good deal of evidence that Britain comes up with a lot of great, innovtive ideas, while the US filches them and scales them.

Discussion about why US entrepreneurship seems to be so more successful than in the UK. Marketing, the size of the market and Brits are too polite to get filthy rich?

You very often hear this argument, it seems to us at SmallBizPod that we should focus on our own startup endeavours in this country, rather than developing global entrepreneur envy!

Carl Schramm explodes some myths on startups, business plans and VCs. Only 14% of the top 400 fastest growing companies in the US did so using venture capital. Fewer than 50% ever wrote a business plan.

Matt Brittin, MD of Google UK, David Wei, ceo of Alibaba.com, Emma Harrison of A4E

After a big, albeit entertaining, video plug for Google from its UK managing director, Matt Brittin, he makes a few tips for the business on the web: be greater with data, leap and learn, use the technology, fast is better than slow.

David Wei doesn’t believe that entrepreneurship can be trained or built by government and makes a very entertaining speech.

Take away comfortable security net, more important, he advises.

Where is the new entrepreneneurial icon – Richard Branson looks very old now?

UK too good at planning, too much money, too much technology which is holding back entrepreneurial resourcefulness.


Emma Harrison of A4E speaking at Global Entrepreneurship Week

Emma Harrison, chair of A4E says entrepreneurs will always find their own way through the system. She tells her own entertaining story about illegal tuck-shops, blagging her way onto a university course, and running her Dad’s firm after 18 days.

Emma’s top tips for entrepreneurs having transformed her business into a £200 million turnover success. On leadership: inspire, encourage and elevate, find your passion, purpose, a mentor and do four marketing activities a day to get your business out there.

Panel Discussion with Peter Jones, in his role as chair of UK Enterprise, Julie Meyer of Ariadne Capital, Priya Lakhani of Masala Masala and Duncan Goose of Global Ethics, Dame Lynne Brindley of the British Library and Lord Davies, Minister of Trade at BIS.

First question picks up on Peter Jones’s comment about one UK bank telling him that 51% of their small business customers in trouble or recovery are social enterprises who clearly need to know more about business.

Peter back-peddles, stresses positives and says he was surprised by figures and says social enterprise is vital.

Discussion about the importance of education and culture to encourage entrepreneurship.

What should government do to encourage entrepreneurship? Priya Lakhani agrees that the ‘can I’, rather than ‘I can’ change in mindset mentioned by other panelists is important.

Take responsibility for change, says Peter Jones. Julie Meyer suggests take away PAYE and NI to encourage startups & buy from SMEs.

Lots of interesting points from the launch, particularly the provocative and entertaining David Wei. Shame there wasn’t enough time to discuss key issues like access to finance and bank lending to SMEs.


Alex is the founder and editor of SmallBizPod, the UK's first podcast dedicated to small business, start-ups and entrepreneurship. Alex writes about topical small business issues, entrepreneurs and anything else that catches his eye here on the small business blog. http://www.smallbizpod.co.uk

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