Nadhim Zahawi is Conservative MP for Stratford-upon-Avon.
I’m delighted to see the Prime Minister putting his support behind Start-up Britain. This new campaign for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs is being headed by some of Britain’s biggest and most successful businesses. It includes not only the involvement of the co-founder of my own business, Stephan Shakespeare of YouGov, and of my own alumni UCL, but also of businesses such as Google, Microsoft, Blackberry, O2, Axa and many others.
Since coming to power the government has been clear that this must be an enterprise led recovery that creates new jobs in the private sector. However it’s easy to forget, as the previous government did, that government can’t create jobs, it can only be a catalyst. Government is instead about creating the correct environment for the private sector to grow, for entrepreneurs to innovate and for jobs to be created.
As someone who has been through the start-up process myself, who began a technology business in a shed, with an internet connection, a computer, and a telephone, I know how difficult it can be to strike out on your own. How difficult it is to take those first steps with your own idea, and to take the decision to risk it all. I’m sure though that the support being offered for free by StartUp Britain, services and benefits worth £1,500 to every start-up, would have benefited us, and will smooth the process for those who want to take this momentous, but vital step.
I have always been a keen believer in the fact that it is the small and new businesses that will help deliver the growth needed to fix Labour’s economic legacy. Yes, supporting big business is important, but it’s how we help thousands more people to take the steps to entrepreneurship that really matters.
As the Prime Minister said today “There are thousands of people out there who are entrepreneurs, but they just don’t know it yet.” Just last week I met some of those people when I spoke to UCL graduates and I was encouraged to see so many thinking about starting-up on their own. For the future StartUp Britain won’t just help people like them as they take their first steps, but will also help them to make that choice in the first place, through programmes such as StartUp Summer and other new initiatives.
So I, like the Prime Minister, fully support StartUp Britain and can’t wait to see its work begin to bear fruit with a new generation of entrepreneurs and great British businesses.