Creating great entrepreneurs

, 373 words

I was in the Guardian's entrepreneurship supplement last week, writing about the Entrepreneurs' Organization. Nothing has helped me quite as much in my journey with the companies. This is what I wrote:

As small businesses become increasingly important, how can we help UK entrepreneurs to succeed?

The world is changing faster than ever. Industries are evolving at a head-spinning pace.

In such a climate, how can the UK economy prosper? By nurturing entrepreneurship.

Small businesses move fast; that’s their default state. They aren’t gummed up like larger businesses are. They make decisions in an hour that would take an enterprise a year.

Speed has always been a competitive advantage for small businesses – that’s one of the main reasons they exist – but now that the pace has accelerated, large enterprises simply can’t keep up. Many of today’s world-changing companies didn’t exist 15 years ago.

As the UK President of EO – the only global network exclusively for entrepreneurs — I spend a great deal of time speaking with business owners. Based on what I’ve observed, here are a couple of thoughts on how we can encourage entrepreneurship in the UK:

  1. Let’s be honest that entrepreneurs aren’t a different breed. I’m not an “intuitive maverick”, born with “the entrepreneur gene”. In fact, like many business owners I’ve met, I used to think that entrepreneurship was for other people, not me. I thought that business owners were domineering personalities. Perhaps I watched too much TV. I believe that many future entrepreneurs don’t yet know that they could be entrepreneurs.

  2. Let’s share what entrepreneurship is really like. A core principle of EO is to share experiences and not give each other advice. I feel that this is a way of teaching businesspeople the realities of running a company, in a way that no textbook can do. Our members find this activity so valuable, they have created an accelerator program whereby they share their experiences — for no payment — with owners of early-stage businesses . The more UK business owners share their experiences, the faster we can make the UK a nation of entrepreneurs.