Posted: Mon 28th Oct 2013
Last month, City AM editor Allister Heath wrote for The Telegraph calling for a 'union of entrepreneurs'. My response was that we didn't need a union; what was required was a meeting of minds of existing groups and bodies that are already carrying out the job of representing small businesses.
What I envisaged was a special interest group, agreeing on a guiding principle to work together to present a unified voice, reinforced by evidence, to improve the conditions for small businesses here in the UK.
On Friday, October 25th, that group came together to discuss these ideas and explore the potential to work together for the good of UK small businesses. The people around the table represent, collectively, over 2 million businesses, covering the whole of the UK, and a full range of companies from early stage start-ups, home-based micro-enterprises, SMEs and growing ventures.
We agreed that a meeting of minds is needed - that policy can be geared too much towards bigger businesses and put an unfair burden on new ideas and interlopers. We want to see a force to match the clout of big business. To begin with, we'll write an Open Letter to the press, and work on questions together that we'll include in existing surveys to our business communities. The next and more pro-active phase will see all groups unite behind proposals to government. "By its very nature, entrepreneurship is the domain of forceful, passionate people who are all about the free movement of ideas," Enterprise Nation media guru Liz Slee said. "The question is: Can a movement tame this beast and create a unified voice?"
I think we've moved one step closer to achieving that unified voice - a voice on behalf of all small businesses in the UK, presented to government, to media and large corporations too. Watch this space!
In attendance at this meeting were:
Emma Jones, Enterprise Nation
Lorna Bladen, Enterprise Nation
Isabel Oswell, British Library & IP Centre
Clive Lewis, ICAEW
Megan Downey, School for StartUps
Alex Jackman, Forum of Private Business
Dawn Whiteley, National Enterprise Network
Skye Robertson, Centre for Entrepreneurs
Matt Smith, Centre for Entrepreneurs
Dan Martin, Business Zone
Graeme Fisher, Federation of Small Business
Philip Salter, The Entrepreneurs Network