StartUp Britain: The Launch Event

Dave Cameron

StartUp Britain is the major new campaign launched at Microsoft by the Prime Minister today. Read about the event below.

Oli Barrett and Michael Hayman open the StartUp Britain launch

The event kicked off with a welcome by Oli Barrett, co founder of StartUp Britain and founder of the Co-sponsorship agency. Oli introduced the StartUp Britain initiative and said: “We hope you get a glimpse in the next few hours of the enterprise-led recovery. We want StartUp Britain to be simple, practical and useful.”

Michael Hayman, co-founder of Seven Hills and one of the entrepreneurs behind StartUp Britain, addressed the gathered business leaders, corporates, politicians and press and introduced the initiative.

He said: “I am delighted to share with you our vision this morning. StartUp Britain is about doing, grafting, and the fierce urgency of now. We want to help entrepreneurs accelerate, be celebrated and be inspired. We will take the best of what is out there and showcase it.

“We have a web portal that will champion support and advice for entrepreneurs along with outstanding offers and  fantastic events. On www.startupbritain.org – you can see the beginning of an iTunes for enterprise, a Groupon for start-ups, a Trip Advisor for entrepreneurs.”

Oli Barrett introduces the entrepreneurs of the future

Oli Barrett then shone a spotlight on the entrepreneurs of the future, with a panel discussion featuring Samata Angel, designer and founder of Muse, Rajeeb Dey, founder of Enternships and co-founder of StartUp Britain, and Ayo Jenyo, a graduate of the National Enterprise Academy.

Rajeeb Dey said that he wanted to show young people, through Enternships and StartUp Britain, that entrepreneurship is a viable career choice. He said: “We need a private sector led initiative -and we need government to play a facilitator role and to cut red tape, much like they have pledged in the Budget.”

Ayo Jenyo thinks Britain has the entrepreneurial spirit, but needs to move forward. He said: “We need to move forward with mentorships and organisations such as StartUp Britain.”

Samata Angel said that the Government needs to provide encouragement and acknowledgment. She said: “It was a draining and long journey to get to that point where my dresses are being worn on the red carpet, and what you don’t see is the hard work behind the scenes.”

Peter Jones backs entrepreneurship

Dragons’ Den’s Peter Jones then spoke about his passion for entrepreneurship. He said: “I salute these eight founding entrepreneurs as it says a lot that they are taking the time out from their own businesses to help other entrepreneurs. We need initiatives such as StartUp Britain because without them, it is a very long road. With it we have the potential to create the next Microsoft or Google.

StartUp Britain is not just another initiative, this is something special as can bring these all together, work as a central depository – allow us entrepreneurs to interconnect, and help and encourage start-ups. We’ve got a situation where 50% of the population in that UK are thinking about starting a business but 5.8% actually do, this is a huge ambition gap and we need to change that.

“I am heartened by this campaign but ultimately we need to see a shift in our attitudes towards entrepreneurship, and with a combination of the Government’s action and this initiative we  can start to make these dreams reality.”

The Prime Minister offers his support

The Rt Hon Prime Minister David Cameron then made a speech and answers questions from the audience. He said: “What you’re doing here today is unbelievably important – its about practical help but also giving inspiration – letting entrepreneurs know that they can do it, and making sure we celebrate them.

“To get the recovery we need we can’t just pump money into the economy, we need to set businesses free, and we’ve got to get behind the start-ups: the new, the young and those that haven’t even been born yet.

“We need to make this decade the most entrepreneurial in history. StartUp Britain is by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs which makes perfect sense as they are the best placed people to give support and advice. They have the expertise and passion that the government can never match.

StartUp Britain is making the dream of enterprise more accessible to everyone, and this Prime Minister and government will back you every step of the way. But none of this will mean anything unless people take up these opportunities. This is a direct appeal to anyone sitting at home or at their desk thinking about starting a business. Now is the time to do it. Together we can drive this economy forward.”

The Prime Minister then took questions from the audience, including whether there needs to be more initiatives from the private sector, whether there is lack of entrepreneurial knowledge in the government, and whether we’ll see further education transformed to nurture entrepreneurship and about childcare for entrepreneurs.

David Cameron said: “Both the public and private sector have a role in supporting entrepreneurs.  The government also has to think more entrepreneurially, and give more work to small businesses. The Prime Minister ended by saying: “StartUp Britain is a very exciting intitiative, a portal that brings together all the help that is already there.”