Government must do more for entrepreneurs, says cross-party group of MPs at the launch of An Entrepreneurs' Manifesto

The government must implement a package of pro-entrepreneurship reforms to revitalise the economy, said a cross-party group of MPs and business leaders at the launch of a new initiative designed to champion entrepreneurs in British politics.

Speaking at the launch of The Entrepreneurs Network's new publication An Entrepreneurs' Manifesto in the House of Lords, the MPs outlined their proposals for reform of Britain’s entrepreneurship policies, which include a call for increased university commercialisation of scientific innovations by Liberal Democrat Party President Tim Farron MP and an alignment of development aid objectives with British trade policy in emerging markets by Conservative MP George Freeman.

The Manifesto comprises 17 papers by entrepreneurs, politicians and civil society representatives from across the business world and political spectrum. Each paper proposes one way to support and promote high-growth start-up businesses in Britain. Authors include Toby Perkins MP, Anne Marie Morris MP, George Freeman MP, Tim Farron MP, Adam Afriyie MP, and Simon Danczuk MP.

The manifesto puts emphasis on the international and educational reforms needed to encourage entrepreneurial pursuits in the UK. It outlines a more flexible visa system for international graduates who want to be entrepreneurs, explains how entrepreneurs can benefit from growth in emerging markets, and discusses how schools and colleges can better promote entrepreneurship and scientific innovation to give business experience to all young people.

Tax reform is emphasised, including the extension of Entrepreneurs’ Relief, the introduction of business advice vouchers, the provision of tax relief for small businesses, and business rate reform.

Commenting on the manifesto:

Philip Salter, Director of The Entrepreneurs Network, said: "The Government must deliver more policies to allow entrepreneurs to succeed. Entrepreneurship does not belong to any political party, and I'm encouraged to see cross-partisan recognition that there is much more that can be done to help start-ups flourish today."

Toby Perkins, Labour MP and Shadow Minister for Small Business,  author of 'Access to finance is vital for entrepreneurs to flourish', said:

“Entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of the British economy. Many of the suggested reforms put forward in An Entrepreneurs’ Manifesto, which would aim to give small businesses better access to educational and financial support, have the potential to provide a real boost to the UK economy.”

Anne Marie Morris, Conservative MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Micro Business and Vice Chair of the APPG for Entrepreneurship, and author of 'The importance of definition for micro business', said:

“The policy ideas put forward in An Entrepreneurs' Manifesto can have a really positive impact on entrepreneurship in Britain. I’m proud to have contributed alongside other MPs to this collaboration and as Vice Chair of the APPG for Entrepreneurship, am excited to see how this manifesto can translate into policy.”

Guy Myles, Co-Founder and Managing Director at Octopus Investments, a sponsor of TEN, said:

“Entrepreneurial Britain is crucial to our economic prosperity and we need to ensure that we do everything we can to enable enterprise and high growth businesses to thrive in the UK. An Entrepreneurs’ Manifesto brings together many positive ideas to achieve this outcome. With a general election on the horizon, we need all the political parties to make sure their own manifestos address the needs of entrepreneurs to ensure that growing businesses across Britain can continue to help drive our economic growth."

Key quotes from the report:

Tim Farron MP, President of the Liberal Democrats, and author of 'We need to capitalise on our scientific excellence', said:

“Commercialising the UK’s research output is a potential open goal for the country’s entrepreneurs and scientists. If the UK is to move beyond the occasional bright spot of success, it will require both academics and entrepreneurs being willing to shift from their comfort zones and learn about each other’s worlds.”

Simon Danczuk, Labour MP and member of the Communities and Local Government Select Committee, and author of 'A Small Business Kitemark would foster local government best practice', said:

“One of the best ways a local authority can help a small business is to simply get out of the way. The sheer number of regulations a business has to navigate costs small businesses huge amounts in time and money and can be a deterrent to young entrepreneurs. I would therefore like to see local authorities committed to reducing the number of regulations small businesses are subject to by having a Red Tape Challenge similar to the one currently operating on a national level.”

George Freeman MP, UK Trade Envoy, and author of 'An integrated approach to aid and trade could unlock a new cycle of growth', said:

 “The UK has a choice: become an ever older, less productive, insular, more public sector and tax dependent ‘former’ European power or embrace these new markets and be the provider of the innovation and knowledge based expertise these economies will need. To do that we need to think less like a big corporation (UK plc) and more like a start-up (UK.net)."

Adam Afriyie MP, author of 'All schoolchildren should be given the opportunity to start and run their own business', said:

“Entrepreneurship is not just for middle-class kids or those from privileged backgrounds… Whatever your background, if you’re enterprising and hard-working, business will give you a leg up.”

 

For further comment or to arrange an interview with any of the authors of the report, please email philip@tenentrepreneurs.org or phone 0207 222 4995. 

An Entrepreneurs' Manifesto was formally launched in the House of Lords on Tuesday, 11 March 2014.

The Entrepreneurs Network is a cross-party think tank designed to bring entrepreneurs to the forefront of political discourse and help make Britain the best place in the world to start a business. The Entrepreneurs Network is based within the Adam Smith Institute and is supported by Octopus Investments, one of the UK’s fastest growing fund management companies specialising in smaller company investing.