The Entrepreneurs Network launches APPG for Entrepreneurship

Today, the APPG for Entrepreneurship (of which The Entrepreneurs Network is Secretariat) was launched at a reception in the Houses of Parliament.

Entrepreneurs, journalists, politicians and key individuals from within the entrepreneurial ecosystem joined us to hear Business Secretary Sajid Javid extoll the virtues of entrepreneurship, outline how the government is supporting business owners, and discuss how his childhood gave him a unique understanding of the fashion world…

The group, which is chaired by Alan Mak MP, will focus on four key areas in its first 12 months: exporting, enterprise education, female founders and tax reform. Here’s why we became Secretariat. And below is all the press coverage the APPG’s launch received:

Sajid Javid launches All-Party Parliamentary Group for Entrepreneurship, The Guardian

The post-crash entrepreneurial revolution has changed Britain: I want MPs to spur it on further, City A.M.

Alan Mak: Boosting entrepreneurship is key to North’s prosperity, Yorkshire Post

The state of running a firm in Britain – and what role the All Party Parliamentary Group plays, Real Business

Why schools should encourage entrepreneurship, Huffington Post

Sajid Javid launches initiative to give business owners a voice in Parliament,

Government launches Parliamentary group for entrepreneurship, Tech City News

Entrepreneurs call for less tax, less regulation and more skilled workers, Fresh Business Thinking

Alan Mak MP: Entrepreneurs will get Britain to the future first, Politics Home

New Parliamentary group to bridge gap between businesses and politicians, Bdaily

Lowering taxes tops “to-do” list for new Parliamentary business group, Is4Profit



Why we became the Secretariat of APPG for Entrepreneurship

When it comes to support, entrepreneurs have never had it so good. Successive governments are increasingly valuing their contribution to the economy and there are a growing number of organisations out there doing a brilliant job of supporting their growth.

These organisations include the well established FSB, CBI, BCC, IoD, but also Enterprise Nation, Prelude Group’s Supper Club, the British Library’s Business and IP Centre, and, dare I add, us at The Entrepreneurs Network. And this is just the tip of the iceberg when you start to add up all workspaces, incubators and accelerators up and down the country.

We set up The Entrepreneurs Network three years ago to help bridge the gap between entrepreneurs and policymakers. Through programmes of research, events and lobbying we have grown to fill the gap in the market for an organisation to act as a conduit between two very different constituents – both helping politicians and policymakers at large understand the priorities of entrepreneurs and helping entrepreneurs understand current, changing incoming policies. In essence, we exist to help provide feedback in the making and breaking of policies impacting entrepreneurs.

That’s why we jumped at the opportunity to become the Secretariat for the APPG for Entrepreneurship, which Business Secretary Sajid Javid will launch in the House of Commons today. Alongside the Chair Alan Mak MP, the MPs and Lords making up its Officers and Members, partner organisations and a network of thousands of entrepreneurs, we will work to make Britain the best place in Europe, nay, the world, to start and grow a business.

In the first 12 months we plan to focus on four areas of policy: tax reform, exporting, enterprise education and female founders.

There can be no doubting that the UK has some of the best tax regimes in the world. We lead much of the world with corporation tax rate at 20 per cent, SEIS and EIS, Venture Capital Trusts and Entrepreneurs’ Relief. But we shouldn’t rest on our laurels. For example, the seven-year rule for EIS investments is can put older companies at a disadvantage and HMRC is struggling to turn buy ativan from india around requests for Advance Assurance Requests for SEIS and EIS at the same speed as it used to.

On exporting we will survey entrepreneurs in our network for UKTI to see what’s holding back British exporters. On a per capita basis we export £4,773 – significantly less than comparable European countries like the Netherlands (£19,942), Germany (£11,059), France (£7,654) and even Italy (£5,087). UKTI has set up a real-time platform for exporting opportunities as part of its Exporting is GREAT strategy, but policymakers might need to dig a little deeper so that the strategy is a success.

According to data from Beauhurst, only 164 (12 per cent) of the 1,422 deals last year were from companies with at least one female founder, equating to £359m (8 per cent) of the £4.23bn total investment. At The Entrepreneurs Network we run a Female Founders Forum project with Barclays and a group of some of the UK’s most successful female entrepreneurs, looking at why so few women-led businesses scale up. We will increase the scope of this work through the APPG, collaborating with other groups with similar aims.

Over the next 12 months we will also delve into how enterprise is taught in schools. We are mindful of a lot of great work already being done in this space –for example, Founders4Schools, MyBnk Back My Business, Young Enterprise’s Fiver and Tenner Challenges, the Mosaic Challenge, the National Enterprise Challenge, Tycoon in Schools and the School Enterprise Challenge, to name just a few – so first we will call out for input from these organisations on where the gaps are and where the policy consensus is.

These four areas of focus are a roadmap for this APPG – but they’re not a blueprint. As the Secretariat, we will act as a conduit for all the great organisations that want to work through the APPG to improve entrepreneurship in the UK. Governments will come and go – but this APPG will be a strong voice for the long-term success of entrepreneurship in the UK.

Three ways government can unburden enterprise | Annabel Denham writes for Real Business

With the discourse shifting in the entrepreneurial sphere from “startup” to “scale-up”, Annabel Denham unveils three policy reforms which The Entrepreneurs Network is pushing for to help turn entrepreneurial activity into high-growth businesses:

  1. 1. Allow unquoted shares to be included in an Isa wrapper

2. End the National Insurance Contributions system

3. Scrap the seven-year rule for VCTs and EIS

Read her article in full here.

On a mission to make coffee a force for good

Thank you for inviting me to speak on leading with my mission. It was interesting to hear the missions of the entrepreneurs sat around this table. Yet around half aimed to grow a certain amount in a certain timeframe, and this is to misunderstand what a mission is. We all have objectives and goals. A mission is not what you’re trying to do, nor how you’re trying to do it. It’s why.

By way of introduction, Pact Coffee is a coffee delivery service, which operates on a flexible subscription model. We trade directly with some of the best coffee producers across the globe including Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Rwanda and Ethiopia. We import their produce, roast it, and deliver it to our customers.

Three and a half years after launch, we are likely to turn over £10m this year and are growing 10 per cent month-on-month. Read more

Plugging the scale-up gap: How to ensure UK startups flourish

Drawing on the recommendations from Scale-up UK: Growing Businesses, Growing our Economya report from Barclays on the future of UK scale-ups, I’ve outlined three steps the government could take to have real impact, yet which remain largely under-exploited:

  1. 1. Loosening regulation on venture debt – a source of funding which plays a significant role in our entrepreneurial ecosystem, yet is subject to regulatory obstacles not faced in the VC sphere;

2. Working with industry to attract foreign companies and investors to the Alternative Investment Market, which lags far behind the highly-successful Nasdaq;

3. Boosting the marketplace for secondary shares by removing stamp duty on secondary purchases of unlisted shares; including private, unlisted companies in Isas and other tax wrappers; and setting CGT on secondary unlisted shares that align with Entrepreneurs’ Relief at 10 per cent.

Read my article in full here.

The FFF Interview: Nancy Cruickshank, founder,

In my latest Huffington Post column, I have the pleasure of interviewing Nancy Cruickshank, the effervescent serial entrepreneur whose latest venture,, is transforming the beauty industry.

Her personalised online beauty shopping service helps female entrepreneurs expand their beauty businesses; offers customers access to thousands of stylists and products; and gives over 40 different beauty brands access to a new market.

When she’s not working on her third venture, she finds time to champion women entrepreneurs (not least through her involvement in our Female Founders Forum), extoll the virtues of the sharing economy, and spend time with her family of four.

Read my interview in full here.

Northern Powerhouse needs the talents of the entire region to succeed | Annabel Denham writes for Yorkshire Post

To mark the launch of The Entrepreneurs Network’s newest paper, Regional Voices: Yorkshire, Annabel Denham outlines in the Yorkshire Post why the Northern Powerhouse initiative must include the whole region, rather than just Manchester.

“At a recent roundtable hosted at PwC and chaired by BIS Select Committee chairman Iain Wright MP, Yorkshire entrepreneurs expressed fears that cities like Sheffield, Leeds, Bradford and Hull were being overlooked in favour of their neighbours west of the Pennines.

“With the North dreaming big again, as long as efforts are diversified away from Manchester and the skills gap is narrowed, we could still make those dreams a reality.”

Read the article in full here.

Philip Salter talks visas, Osborne and women’s entrepreneurship on The Seed & EIS Hour

In an interview with The Seed & EIS Hour, Philip Salter, director of The Entrepreneurs Network, explains why women-led businesses often struggle to reach the same economic scale as those run by men; why the Chancellor’s 2016 Budget was broadly good for entrepreneurs; and why, if there was one thing the UK government buy ativan cheap could do to support entrepreneurs, it would be to reform the Entrepreneurs Visa to attract more foreigners to set up businesses here in Britain.

The FFF Interview: Emma Sinclair, founder, EnterpriseJungle

This week, I caught up with Emma Sinclair – serial entrepreneur, Unicef Business Ambassador and the youngest person to IPO on the London Stock Exchange.

Emma left a successful career at Rothschild to found Mission Capital, which she floated aged 29. Since, she has built two more businesses – Target Parking and EnterpriseJungle.

She has never let her age act as a barrier to her success, and she dismisses claims order ativan online canada that female entrepreneurs aren’t taken as seriously as their male counterparts. Nonetheless, she spends much of her free time championing entrepreneurship across the globe and giving back to the entrepreneurial community.

“I’m happy to do it: I love each and every interesting person, venture and event I cross paths with. I never tire of hearing their stories and experiences.”

Read my interview with Emma in full here.

Exporting opportunities for UK businesses | Philip Salter writes for Virgin StartUp

Many entrepreneurs have set their sights on expanding overseas, but may not know where to start. And, as our director Philip Salter points out in Virgin StartUp, getting advice can be tricky – which is why we’ve partnered with UKTI on its Exporting is GREAT initiative.

“It has been calculated that poor professional advice from third parties and consultants has resulted in one in six small firms losing money in the last year, at a total cost of £6.4bn.”

So where should internationally ambitious entrepreneurs turn to for advice? Read Philip’s article in full here.