Management Futures: November round-up

29 November 2013

Is the UK becoming more entrepreneurial? November’s blog on the theme coincided with press reports on the ‘start-up’ nation – thanks to Steve Preston on the CMI Linked-in group for highlighting this phenomenon. It shows how large numbers of people are starting up their own firm, often using the internet, and often with little or no start-up capital.

In the poll question on this month’s blog, only a third of respondents felt that young people were more entrepreneurial than older people (of course, we don’t have an age profile of those taking part in the vote!), but it’s an interesting finding, confirmed by recent press reports on older people, often retired or semi-retired, starting up in business. Sometimes it is through necessity as retirement income is less than hoped-for, but equally it may be the thrill of the opportunity.

There are grounds to believe that British people are losing the fear of failure that has arguably held back entrepreneurial initiative. Serial entrepreneur Luke Johnson made this point at the UK launch event for Global Entrepreneurship Week this month, saying that ‘failures are rarely fatal, and should be perceived as tough lessons.’

As regards the effect on UK plc, this upsurge in entrepreneurial flair may be positive, but needs supporting. It has long been observed that the economy needs to be rebalanced. While the size of the public sector will be the subject of fierce political dispute, there is cross-party consensus on the need to build businesses and grow exports to reduce Britain’s long-standing trade deficit. Official figures still make for grim reading.

The country has a strong track record of breakthrough inventions and start-up flair, but has been weaker at converting these into major companies. That, of course, is the job of management. A major focus of the Commission on the Future of Management and Leadership, being led by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Management and CMI, is developing leadership and management capability to help businesses grow.

With a timetable aimed at influencing policy-makers in the run-up to the 2015 General Election, it’s about time for a fresh look at how we overcome this long-standing weakness in the British economy. It’s not too late to suggest submissions for oral or written evidence: find the Commission’s page here.

Submitted by Philip Wood

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