Alan Mak MP: Entrepreneurs will get Britain to the future first
With the launch of a new APPG on entrepreneurship today, the group's Chairman Alan Mak MP reflects on the future of entrepreneurship in the UK.
Entrepreneurs are vital to Britain’s continued economic growth, launching new businesses, creating jobs, intensifying competition, and generating wealth. Growing up above my parents’ high street shop – and later working in it – I know just how much hard work is needed to make a business successful.
We often read about Silicon Roundabout’s tech whizzkids, but there are thousands of founders outside London’s E2 postcode who never make the papers or contribute to Westminster’s policymaking process, yet whose voices deserve to be heard.
So, today I’m launching Parliament’s new All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Entrepreneurship. This cross-party group of MPs will act as bridge between entrepreneurs and policymakers, “making sure the voice of entrepreneurs is heard loud and clear in Parliament,” as Business Secretary Sajid Javid MP will say at our inaugural event this afternoon.
In our first year we’ll focus on four key policy areas: tax reform, exporting, enterprise education and female entrepreneurship. We’ll also conduct regular surveys of entrepreneurs to uncover their policy views, in partnership with The Entrepreneurs Network, our Secretariat.
Britain already has one of the most pro-entrepreneur policy environments in the world. Our 20% corporation tax rate is the lowest in the G20 and set to fall further still. We encourage investment in start-ups with an array of tax incentives, including the very successful Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) & the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS). Through the Entrepreneur Visa scheme we welcome founders with high-growth businesses from around the world, whilst the Government’s Sirius programme, run by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) helps international graduates with outstanding business ideas set up in Britain. Government-backed Enterprise Zones also offer companies incentives such as reduced taxes to help young businesses in Britain’s thriving regions, from the Northern Powerhouse to the vibrant south coast.
However, we can’t rest on our laurels, and our APPG will examine how we can strengthen the current regime.
For example, UKTI’s Exporting is GREAT strategy is bearing fruit, but the APPG will look at why some businesses don’t want to make the exporting leap. Not every entrepreneur is ready to sell abroad, but there is no getting around the fact that we should be exporting more than countries like Italy.
The job for life is dead and young people need to be equipped with the skills to adapt to the modern working environment, including the skills to work for themselves. There are already great organisations out there inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs - Tycoon in Schools and the School Enterprise Challenge are just a few great examples – and our APPG will encourage more.
At today’s launch Parliamentarians from both Houses will rub shoulders with inspiring female entrepreneurs like Buddi’s Sara Murray and Decoded’s Kathryn Parsons. Working with the Female Founders Forum and other groups supporting female entrepreneurs, we want to uncover why too few female-led businesses scale up after they start up.
Britain is in a global race for success, and we need to get to the future first. Our entrepreneurs play a vital role, and I’m confident that our new Parliamentary group can provide them with the backing – and strong voice – they deserve, in Westminster and beyond.
Alan Mak is Conservative MP for Havant and Chairman of the new APPG for Entrepreneurship