Land of Hope and Technology February 2016 - Page 14

ISSUE 1 What’s new? But there is something new. This chapter has already hinted at it. Open up your nasal passages and inhale the aroma. You will pick up the scent best of all if you stand in parts of London, but there are clusters scattered across Britain. They exist in Manchester, Bristol, Cambridge and Brighton, for example, across the border to the north hubs are emerging in Scotland. The fragrance is strong in other regions too. So what is the bouquet to which I refer? It is the tantalising smell of energy, of entrepreneurial spirit? Open up the rest of your senses, and you will hear the new hum of digital industry, the sight of entrepreneurs, many of whom are from the millennial generation, their enterprise touching your life in many ways, the taste of prosperity. The evidence of this revolution is growing. Take as an example the Global Entrepreneurism Index. This ranks countries across the world by their order of entrepreneurism. The index takes into account attitudes of entrepreneurs – looking at such measures as fear of failure, abilities – including quality of human resources – and aspirations. The UK was the fourth most entrepreneurial country in the world. For the version of the index published in 2015, the UK was in fourth place, behind the US, Canada and Australia. The really encouraging bit is this: In 2012, the UK was in 12th place. So that was quite an improvement. If there is something in the air that has changed in the UK, making the country more entrepreneurial, it would seem that this change has occurred in this decade. You may be interested to note that while the UK scores highly for ability in this entrepreneurial index, it sits in a lowly 16th place for aspiration. The Global Entrepreneurism Index report, stated: “The UK’s strongest pillar is competition, followed by human capital and opportunity start-up, suggesting that the UK’s greatest strengths are in ability. The UK also exhibits strengths in attitudes, whereas many of its aspirations pillars show relative softness. Overall, therefore, the UK appears to have some catching up to do in terms of improving the ambitions and aspirations of its start-ups. The most notable aspect remains the overall evenness of the UK’s entrepreneurial profile.” You could put it another way: Good at startups, less good at risk capital and creating technology giants. Meanwhile, the Global Innovation Index of 2014 had the UK sitting in second place, behind only Switzerland. In 2011, the UK was in 10th place. 2014 saw the highest number of new companies being formed in the UK ever Other data shows that 2014 saw the highest number of new companies being formed in the UK ever. In total 581,000 companies were formed, compared to 526,000 the year before and 484,000 the year before that. According to the Connected World Survey, from Boston Consulting, the internet economy accounts for 8.3 per cent of UK GDP, the highest percentage across the G20. But, the most staggering change to occur in the UK in recent years relates to the explosion in a support network for entrepreneurs. It has