Call Her Maybe

Kelly Tolhurst MP, the Government’s Minister for Small Business, and Keith Morgan, Chief Executive of the Government-owned British Business Bank, are holding a teleconference at 10am on Thursday to hear business owners' experiences of finding and using external finance.

This is in response to some businesses telling them that the market for finance is not working as well as it could, with many saying that they find it difficult to navigate the finance options on offer.

If you are a business owner and have questions or suggestions about accessing business finance, register for the call here.

Gimme More
I hadn't planned to write about tech regulation two weeks in a row, but I co-authored a paper on the subject that's been released today. 

In Safeguarding Progress: The Risks of Internet Regulation, Matt Lesh (Adam Smith Institute) Sam Dumitriu (The Entrepreneurs Network) and I make the case for a for a free, open internet, and for the Government to adopt these five principles for Permissionless Innovation:

  1. Identify and remove barriers to entry and innovation;

  2. Protect freedom of speech and entrepreneurship by retaining immunities for intermediaries from liability;

  3. Rely on existing legal solutions, the common law, and competitive pressures to solve problems;

  4. Push for industry self-regulation and best practices;

  5. Adopt targeted, limited legal measures for truly hard problems based on evidence.

As I say in the press release, the growing burden of tech regulation risks strengthening the market position of tech giants by raising the barriers to entry. Treating platforms as publishers would hit startups hard. Facebook and Google can afford to hire an army of moderators, but their would-be competitors will struggle. While the Copyright Directive risks stymieing creativity, funding and innovation for disruptive tech entrepreneurs. Britain's tech sector is the envy of Europe. If we are to remain a world challenger, we need to up our game and factor in the significant cost of poorly targeted regulation.

City A.M. has a short write-up of the paper. And if you're a glutton for tech policy regulation (who isn't?), check out Ryan Bourne's paper on the antitrust policy in the US.

Separately, and more broadly, we're working with Liya Palagashvili, Visiting Scholar in the Department of Political Economy at King's College London. She is undertaking pilot interviews with founders/CEOs, investors, accelerators, and others in the London startup ecosystem better understand what it is like for entrepreneurs to run their businesses in London. Email her if you want to get involved.

Read the whole thing here, and sign up for the e-bulletin here.