I was lucky enough to turn the business I started aged 17, with £150, into a multi-million pound enterprise with more than 24,000 customers, so I read with interest this week about StartUp Britain.
Launched this Monday, this initiative is a government-backed (but not funded) attempt to get more people to start their own businesses. It’s a brilliant combination of resources, links and £1500 worth of vouchers and offers to help get you started.
I’ve always believed that most people in the UK who dream of starting a business are held back by one thing – FEAR. Most of those people never really take the risk, leave stable employment and go for it. Many of those that do, quickly let fear overcome them when they discover that starting a business can be extremely difficult.
Here at Time Etc we’re lucky enough to support more than 180 business owners who have taken the plunge, started their own businesses and got through the “difficult” start-up period – but I’ve seen plenty of people spend six months working on a concept and give up within six weeks because they got a few rejections during their first round of sales calls. The fear of failure itself results in failure.
So, if fear is the number one thing that stops more people starting and succeeding with their own businesses, is StartUp Britain a good thing? Will it help to encourage more people to take the plunge and get started?
I certainly think so.
Putting aside the £1500 vouchers (nice touch, great PR hook but they’re probably not going to change anyone’s life) it is clear to me that StartUp Britain is a very high profile way to make those people on the verge of starting their own business feel more supported and less fearful. It’s a bundle of resources to help you on your way, backed by a friendly set of human faces – people who have been there and done it.
There are plenty of business resources out there that do a similar thing, but none has achieved the PR coup that we’ve seen with StartUp Britain, who have had heaps of tabloid and news coverage all over the UK.
If StartUp Britain can, in any way, make someone who is thinking of starting a business feel a little more supported and less fearful, it has succeeded. At the very least it’s got us all talking about start-ups again – which is absolutely brilliant.
For more information visit http://www.startupbritain.org
Founder of Time Etc