UK poor at providing long-term funding for startups

UK ‘appallingly bad’ at providing startups with the long-term capital needed

According to leading fund manager Neil Woodford in a BBC article, small UK based companies are not receiving sufficient funding to grow and reach their full potential. The issue tends to be with long-term funding; this is potentially preventing small promising start-ups form developing into leading global companies. Other major issues discussed in the article are the UK’s Entrepreneur Relief which often results in entrepreneurs selling their businesses and also the idea that universities may not be supportive enough.

The issues are discussed in detail in a this BBC article. 

Ideas aren’t everything

Paranoia and overconfidence: the nemesis of a great idea

Do you have an amazing idea for an invention/project/business that is going to change the world? Are you worried about sharing that idea for fear of IP thieves and opportunistic business partners?

According to Rhodri Marsden, your fears may be unfounded; ideas aren’t everything and the only danger to your success is your paranoia and sometimes, a mistaken overconfidence in the potential of your big idea.

Undoubtedly, entrepreneurs need to protect their ideas, and a reluctance to share with anyone and everyone is somewhat understandable in the dog-eat-dog world of entrepreneurship. Believing in the value of your idea is also important; after all, if you don’t think that what you are doing is special, why should a potential business partner, investor, or customer? Having a balance between confidence and arrogance therefore is an important lesson to learn.

In an interesting new series, Marsden explore the history of promising inventions hindered and ultimately destroyed by their inventors, and the lessons we can learn from their mistakes.

Read via The Long and The Short here:

Part One: Paranoia

Part Two: Hubris


Illustration: Peter Judson

So you think it’s all about investors & incubators…

95% of entrepreneurs worldwide finance their own startups

Limited access to startup finance is a gripe of many entrepreneurs, many of whom can only dream of successfully securing funding from venture capitalists.

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2015-16 Special Report on Entrepreneurial Finance, recently revealed that only 0.16% of small businesses in the United States received venture capital in 2015. The report is the first of its kind since the economic downturn in 2008 and discusses new research which indicates that since the 2008 recession, availability of funding and the cost of starting a business has evolved.

Although startup costs have reduced, obtaining further funding has become much more difficult and consequently entrepreneurs are investing more of their own money into their businesses than in previous years. This has also led to the rise of crowdfunding platforms and community cooperatives as small business owners search for that vital funding to make their ideas happen.

Read more on the report here.

Olympic lessons for entrepreneurs

Six things small businesses can learn from our Olympic athletes

Team GB are currently doing us proud over in Rio with their amazing strength, determination and perseverance to be the best at what they do.

Whilst the majority of us couldn’t hope to keep up in the velodrome , or run, swim or jump quite as fast, we do have something in common with these sportsmen and women. Entrepreneurs need to be resilient, brave and determined to taste success, and getting to the top can feel like a marathon or two.

So what lessons could we learn from our medal winning athletes?

Read more

Image:AFP/Getty Images

Entrepreneurial Small Business Minister

Former entrepreneur Margot James appointed small business minister

Last week it was announced that Margot James, a former business owner, is the new small business minister.

Before her political career, Margot ran her own PR and education business Shire Health. The firm was voted ‘consultancy of the year’ three times before being sold to marketing giant WPP.

The role holder, officially referred to as the minister for small business, industry and enterprise, is responsible for the business sector, access to finance and local and regional growth among other responsibilities.

Read more.

What really matters most to you in life?

Web design author and ex-marketing strategy consultant Ben Hunt asks ‘Why do we do what we do?

Really… what is the ultimate point?

  • Is it just to make money? If so, exactly how much money is “enough money”?
  • Is it to make a better world? If so, what does that world look like exactly?
  • Is it to be remembered as important? If so, what do you want your obituary to say?

It isn’t for me to attempt to answer that question for you. But I can tell you this…

When you know what you stand for, what you stand against, what you value, what you don’t care for, the people or causes you wish to champion… you actually discover yourself.

And when you do that, your whole life becomes simpler, and your choices become easier.

You stop chasing and start building, because you know who you are, who you wish to become, and you can see the path from here to there.

You’ll also be able to spot the kindred spirits who can help you along your way. Perhaps you and I are kindred spirits?

For me, I find this 23-minute video incredibly inspiring. It’s the late, great John Seymour, the father of modern self-sufficiency, and he puts into words his view of the world, and what progress means, in a way that I could never do.

Watch the video here.

Best wishes

Ben Hunt

You can register for Ben’s website and blog here.

China UK Entrepreneurship Challenge – Success at Semi-Final!

For the first time in the history of the competition – two Lancaster teams have made it to the final of the China UK Entrepreneurship Challenge!

Eight teams from universities across the country pitched their ideas at a Dragon’s Den Style semi-final event at the the University of Edinburgh on Thursday the 23rd of June.

After tough questioning, four teams emerged as finalists – Finno from Lancaster impressed with his pitch for a drone-operated pesticide spraying service for Chinese farmers. Whilst, CareForYou from Lancaster presented a strong proposal for a home care service for the elderly in China.

The two Lancaster teams along with a team from Northumbria University and one from Heriot-Watt University will compete in the final at the Bank of China in London on the 7th of July. The Finalists will share £14,000 in cash prizes and could secure up to £500,000 in investments to grow their businesses.

We wish the teams going into the final the very best of luck!

For further information on the event read the LUMS post here.

President Obama at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit

Catch up with all the happenings from the recent Global Entrepreneurship Summit held in Silicon Valley

Last week Stanford University hosted the seventh annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit, bringing together more than 1,000 entrepreneurs, investors and startup champions form around the world.

Hosted by U.S President Barack Obama, it exemplified the support and spark he has instilled for global entrepreneurship during his time in office. In his remarks he referred to entrepreneurs as “the glue… who can help lead to a more peaceful and prosperous future that provides opportunity for everybody,” a powerful statement emphasising the global value of entrepreneurs in our future.

To read more about the Summit read the Global Entrepreneurship Network’s blog post here. You can also watch videos of the event on the Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2016 Silicon Valley YouTube channel.

Sign up to our mailing list to receive updates on Global Entrepreneurship Week at Lancaster in November 2016.

Business Lessons from World Entrepreneur of the Year 2016

This week Manny Stul, chariman and co-CEO of Melbourne-based toy company, ‘Moose,’ was awarded with the title of EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2016. In the video below, Manny shares some of his business tips, it’s well worth a watch!

You can also find out a bit more about Manny in this blog post from Enterprise Nation

The Surgeon will Skype you now…

Robo-surgeon and the superfast broadband: the future of the operating theatre?


Robots are no stranger to the operating theatre in 21st century medicine; but where will this innovation take us?

It is now commonplace for prostate surgery to be carried out with the use of robotic machinery, where the surgeon performs the operation whilst sitting at a console, metres away from their patient. Reduced recovery times and increased precision are amongst the arguments in favour of utilising this new technology- watch a short clip here of how delicate these machines are (amazing!). Surgeons no longer have to spend hours hunched over their patients, with hands shaking and eyes strained during particularly intricate work. But what are the limits of robotic assistants and where will this technology evolve?

The next inevitable step, experts believe, will be the evolution of these robotic surgery techniques into remote robotic surgery; where surgeons will perform operations continents away from their patient, with the use of Virtual Private Networks. My first thought, as I’m sure will be the same with many other people, was that this is clearly a positive step; patients will no longer be deprived of specialist surgery simply because of their location and the best medical care will be ever more accessible, particularly in poorer countries. However, as with all technologies, the robo-surgeons are not without their flaws (and unsurprisingly come with a hefty price tag) – should we so readily put our lives and wellbeing in the hands of technology, without assessing the risks first?

Poor internet connections and resulting time lags can affect a surgeon’s performance, ultimately increasing the danger to the patient. Internet connections and networks can also be hacked by malicious individuals and malware and the threat of technological breakdowns, no matter how sophisticated the software, could be catastrophic. Could patients consent to treatment so unpredictable the risks can’t even be comprehended yet?

Research and innovation in heath care is big business and we shouldn’t stifle new developments with the fear of the unknown. Remote robotic surgery might have its limitations now but we can only imagine where it might lead with a little bit of entrepreneurial spirit and expertise. Medical innovation and enterprising ideas should be encouraged in our young doctors, surgeons and scientists if we want to continue to develop world class health care, even ideas which might otherwise have been condemned to science fiction!

Read more about robotic surgery from Alexandra Ossola here.