How Britain Can Get Its Own Mark Zuckerberg
The Economist recently ran an article asking ‘Where’s Britain’s Bill Gates?’ focusing on the distinct lack of technology giants originating from the UK.
Although, relatively small, Britain is a huge online player and spends more online per person than any other country, according to Boston Consultancy Group. Throw in the fact Brits created the Internet, as well as computers, then it is somewhat disappointing Britain has yet to create a Facebook, Mircosoft or Google.
There are clusters of tech excellence, such as Silicon Roundabout, Silicon Fen and Silicon Gorge, but more needs to be done to turn innovators into business leaders. Not only do we need to create a better climate for entrepreneurs to operate and show that Britain truly is ‘open for business’, the intervention needs to happen earlier. We need our talented people, those with game-changing ideas and expertise to have a firm grasp and experience of business.
The government recognise the role Britain’s digital economy can play in the wider recovery, however, too many initiatives focus on assisting start-ups in the embryonic or operational phase. Whilst, this is vitally important, if Britain wants to get a Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Larry Page or Sergey Brin of our own, we need to foster a culture of entrepreneurism. These guys are not just wonderfully talented computer scientists, they also possess fantastic business brains.
The challenge is to propose macro and micro ideas that would help foster a entrepreneurial culture in the knowledge economy, as well as continuing support for the embryonic and operational stages of a start-up. I’m not one for state intervention, but the government can help stimulate growth by creating a favourable environment in which start-ups can flourish.
To kick this off, here’s a list for discussion. What would you add or change?
- Business and IT taught as core subjects alongside English, Maths and Science
- Schools to provide leadership and team-building opportunities as part of Citizenship
- Business degrees to contain a module where students have to start a business
- All university degrees to require students to create a business plan
- Improved access to start-up funding
- Enhanced business mentoring and coaching
- Tax breaks for start-ups during the first 24 months of trading
- A capital gains systems that encourages investors to reinvest profits back into businesses
- More flexible approach to immigration that welcomes those with good degrees, who speak English and want to work
- Remove red tape and legal barriers to trade across the EU by implementing the 2006 directive on liberalising the services market
Up and down the country many people have just received their GCSE, A-Level and degree results, I only hope that some amongst this generation have the opportunity to become the next Mark, Bill, Larry or Sergey.