Sage have worked with think tank Entrepreneurs Network to develop the ideas and policy proposals of a wide group of experts and entrepreneurs to ensure businesses flourish in every region of the country.
Today, sixty-six entrepreneurs and business experts have put their name to a letter calling on the next Government to create a coherent plan to boost Britain’s businesses.
Open letter to the next Prime Minister
In our view, there should have been immediate plans to boost British businesses in the manifestos.
The next Government, regardless of its political persuasion, must prioritise support of the millions of start-ups, scale-ups and entrepreneurs around the UK. These are the job creators that will continue to fuel the economy, improve productivity, exploit trade opportunities, increase the Government’s future tax take and pay for the vital education and healthcare that our country needs.
This is why we support a set of actionable policies set out in a detailed report released today, which could be implemented immediately to create a culture of entrepreneurship and boost the prospects of businesses across the UK. These policies would:
- Deliver more targeted business support.
- Encourage young people to gain the necessary skills for entrepreneurship or to find enterprising work opportunities.
- Put digital transformation at the heart of the Government’s agenda to help close our productivity gap.
- Reform the visa system to improve access to talent.
- Simplify tax for the smallest businesses.
- Apply an Innovation Principle to regulation and ‘sandbox’ environment to enable regulation of disruptive technologies without stifling innovation.
- Provide an innovative digital marketplace to drive up SMB procurement.
- Equip small businesses and scale-ups to embrace export opportunities.
These policies are not reliant on the vagaries of Brexit negotiations or major public spending commitments, but will give a clear signal that the UK is the best place to start and grow a business. We call on the next Prime Minister to put them into action.
Giles Andrews, Co-founder & CEO, Zopa; Peter, Bance, CEO, Origami Energy; Mairi Bannon, Co-Founder & Director, Strategic Dimensions; Maxine Benson, Founder, Everywoman; Mark Brownridge, Director General, EISA; Ed Bussey, Founder & CEO, Quill; Glen Calvert, Founder & CEO, Affectv; Zabetta Camilleri, Founder & CEO, Shopological; Duncan Cheatle, Founder, Prelude Group & Rise To; James Codling, Co-Founder, VentureFounders; Rachel Coldicutt, CEO, Doteveryone; Alison Cork, Founder and CEO, Alison at Home; Rachael Corson, Founder Afrocenchix; Gareth Davies, Co-Founder & CEO, Adbrain; Dana Denis-Smith, Founder & CEO, Obelisk Support & First 100 Years; Romilly Dennys, Executive Director, Coadec; Rajeeb Dey MBE, CEO, Learnerbly; Sam Dumitriu, Research Economist, Adam Smith Institute; Steve Folwell, Co-Founder and CEO, LoveSpace; Lance Forman, Managing Director, H. Forman & Son; Jonathan Gan, Founder, Whichit; Gemma Godfrey, Founder & CEO, Moola; Sam Gordon, Co-Founder, Gordon & Eden; Kate Grussing, Founder & Managing Director, Sapphire Partners; Chris Haley, Executive Director, Policy & Research, Nesta; Nick Halstead, CEO & Founder, DataSift; David Holloway, Founder & CEO , Marlin Hawk; Mike Jackson, Founder & CEO, Webstart Bristol; Simon Johnson, Chairman, Association of British Jewellers; Husayn Kassai, Co-Founder, Onfido; Stephen Kelly, CEO, Sage; Laurence Kemball-Cook, CEO and Founder, Pavegen Systems; Marta Krupińska, Co-Founder, Azimo; Kate Lester, Founder & CEO, Diamond Logistics; Stuart Lucas, Founder & Co-CEO, Asset Match; Jeff Lynn, Chief Executive Officer, Seedrs; Alex MacDonald, Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Velocity; Graeme Malcolm OBE, Founder & CEO, M Squared Lasers; Chris McCullough, Co-Founder, RotaGeek; Fiona McIntosh, Co-Founder & Creative Director, Blow Ltd; Simon McVicker, Director of Policy and External Affairs, IPSE; Cyrus Mewawalla, Founder and Managing Director, CM Research; Charlie Mowat, Founder & Managing Director, The Clean Space; David Murray-Hundley, Chairman, Efundamantals; Guy Myles, Founder, Flying Colours; Michael Nabarro, Co-Founder & CEO, Spektrix; Pierre-Simon Ntiruhungwa, Head, Founders of the Future; Irina Pafomova, Co-Founder, Engelworks; Alastair Paterson, CEO and Co-Founder, Digital Shadows; Stephen Phillips, CEO, ZappiStore; Edward Poland, Co-Founder & COO, Hire Space; Sean Ramsden, CEO, Ramsden International; Modwenna Rees-Mogg, Founder & CEO AngelNews; Karina Robinson, CEO, Robinson Hambro; Philip Salter, Founder, The Entrepreneurs Network; Alexander Schey, Co-Founder, Vantage Power; Tobyy Schulz, Co-founder, Vantage Power; Russ Shaw, Founder, Tech London Advocates; Sam Smith, Founder, finnCap; Patrick Stobbs, Co-Founder & COO, Jukedeck; Will Swannell, Co-Founder & CEO, Hire Space; Jeffrey Thomas, Chairman & Co-Founder, UKCloud; Michele Trusolino, Co-Founder & COO, Debut; Elizabeth Varley, Founder, TechHub; Ross Williams, Founder and Chairman, Venntro Media Group, Simon Woodroffe OBE, Founder, YO! Sushi, YOTEL & YO! Home
To accompany the letter, The Entrepreneurs Network has published a detailed policy report, A Boost for British Businesses. It includes contributions from the Institute of Directors, Federation of Small Businesses, Nesta, Adam Smith Institute, Sage, IPSE, SQW, Coadec and Nesta. The project is sponsored by Sage. Download the full report.
The policy asks are at the vanguard of research in the UK; don’t rely on the vagaries of Brexit negotiations; could be adopted by all political parties; and wouldn’t put a significant strain on the exchequer.
Philip Salter, founder of The Entrepreneurs Network, comments: “The letter and report show the appetite entrepreneurs have for better policies to support their aspirations. It also shows the wealth of great ideas experts have to make Britain more competitive. This isn’t meant to be the final word policies to support entrepreneurs, but the start of nationwide conversation about what businesses really need to succeed.”
Stephen Kelly, chief executive of Sage and former chief operating officer of the UK government, comments: “Since the economic downturn and Brexit, small and medium-sized businesses have proven most resilient, creating over two thirds of all new jobs in the UK. It has never been more important for Government – regardless of its political persuasion – to listen to British entrepreneurs. Simplification is a theme that runs throughout the report. Whether in procurement, regulation, tax, skills or business support, the ability to simplify and unshackle our businesses from outdated policy and draconian legislation is key if we want to unlock their potential.”