Our Government is keen to encourage entrepreneurship in the UK, with initiatives such as Business in You (http://businessinyou.bis.gov.uk/) – in a bid to help boost the British economy. But will our culture need to adapt in order to accommodate this commercial and industrial shift?
33-year old Californian Eric Ries (a start-up advisor and author, who draws upon his experience in the technology sector) suggests that in the USA there is a greater cultural “willingness to tolerate failure” than in Europe. He argues, “In Europe if you fail in business you are going to find it very difficult to borrow money the next time around, but in the US it is almost seen as a useful experience to have gone through.”
Furthermore, he emphasises, European entrepreneurs have “very high liability levels” whereas smaller business in the USA contend with fewer regulations and restrictions imposed by the state. He argues that this means US entrepreneurs are more willing to take risks.
US entrepreneur Julie Meyer (Chief Executive of investment fund Ariadne Capital which invests £55m per year in early stage technology businesses) believes that “The UK government needs to cut taxes for small firms to help spur growth and act as an incentive. Overall this would mean more successful small firms and therefore more tax revenues.”
And across Europe, she says, the phenomenon of entrepreneurship has been held back by the strong welfare states. “Governments have told people ‘don’t worry, we’ll look after you’ instead of ‘you have a unique contribution to make’.” However, as “European governments suddenly realise they cannot afford to be so large”, a new focus on individuals may foster an increase in entrepreneurship.
US entrepreneur Tom Ryan (Founder of restaurant chain Smashburger) essentially agrees that a culture of entrepreneurship can be generated by the correct social and political conditions. He says that while the first two key factors to success in business are the product and the business model, “you need [the co-operation of others] to make everything come together. Entrepreneurs can’t work on their own.”