APPG for Entrepreneurship: Enterprise Education

To thrive in the modern world, Britain’s next generation must be adaptable to change. Up until relatively recently, a job for life was both possible and preferable. It’s increasingly neither. Universities have been central to many of the great intellectual revolutions across history – now they must embrace enterprise education to imbue students with the necessary enterprising skills to flourish in the twenty-first century.

Government has a role to play. Political action — or inaction — has significant repercussions for how enterprise education is delivered. This report aims to inform the government about the successes, challenges and opportunities for delivering enterprise education at universities. Its recommendations are based on responses to a Call for Evidence and aim to work with the grain of the latest thinking and practice.


Human Capital and Business Stay-Up

In recent decades, governments worldwide have employed an array of different policy tools to try to increase start-up rates in their countries, but relatively little attention has been paid to how to support ‘business stay-up’. In that it is among the fastest growing small businesses that employment growth, innovation and productivity gains are strongest, this lag in the progress of entrepreneurship policy should give us cause for concern.

Of those approaches to supporting business sustainability that have been tried, efforts to improve management practices have shown promise. This report adds to a growing body of evidence in this area, new research supporting the importance of human capital to entrepreneurial outcomes.

Author Gabriel Heller Sahlgren’s research substantiates a relationship between business owners’ specific areas of qualification and the growth of their enterprise. Moreover, and more importantly, he further finds that not all areas of qualification are equal in terms of stimulating success. The training obtained through programmes in business, social science, and law, and in technical areas, such as engineering, appear to lead to employee growth – whereas programmes relating to other subject areas do not.

Accordingly the author argues that governments should seek ways to incentivise training in high impact areas, and in management skills specifically. e most promising approaches, he finds, appear to focus on task-related training, in both an operational and specific sense. To maximise the probability of firm success, owners must therefore learn the operational skills of organisation and management, while at the same time keep up-to-date with the latest developments in the field in which they operate.


APPG for Entrepreneurship: Women in Leadership

The UK needs more early-stage businesses achieving longer-term survival and scale. Supporting female entrepreneurs is not just about increasing the number of women-owned businesses: it is about raising their performance and growth potential. Not only will this lead to more established SMEs contributing more to economic growth, but they could also serve as inspiration to young girls.

As more and more women turn promising ideas into thriving businesses, they will make up a greater share of entrepreneurial role models, thereby encouraging more women into the pipeline – from schoolgirls considering STEM to founders scaling big. According to our survey, less than a third of women now think gender has been a hindrance to success. However, the figure for men is a negligible 1 per cent. 


Demographics and Entrepreneurship

Developed countries face a long-term decline in entrepreneurship that is at least partially driven by demographics. Since demographic trends cannot be easily reversed, countries will have to improve the environment in which entrepreneurs and businesses operate, to encourage more and better entrepreneurs.

This series of essays are published in partnership with Canada’s Fraser Institute, the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in the US and the Institute of Public Affairs in Australia.


Mentoring Matters

In partnership with Barclays, this year the Female Founders Forum focused on mentoring. This report is based on the insights of speed-mentoring events held across the country, which were attended by both experienced and novice female entrepreneurs. Also, following up the theme of last year's Untapped Unicorns report, we have updated updated the data on female founders' access to equity finance.


Parliamentary Snapshot 2017

This is the fourth Parliamentary Snapshot. It uncovers MPs’ views on policies impacting entrepreneurs, providing unique insights on the opinions and working knowledge of the House of Commons. Once again, this report is supported by Bircham Dyson Bell (BDB).

Key finding include:

  • 66% of Conservative MPs think “leaving the EU through a hard Brexit” would be good for entrepreneurship, only 8% of Labour MPs think the same.
  • 71% of Labour MPs think “remaining within the EU” would be positive for entrepreneurship in the UK, only 10% of Conservative MPs think the same.
  • Greatest divergence in four years of this survey between the two main parties on lowering personal taxes, with 91% of Conservative MPs thinking it would be good for entrepreneurship, compared to just 26% of Labour MPs.
  • Over four years of the survey, Parliament has shown growing cross-party support for a more liberal immigration policy for British businesses. “Making it easier for entrepreneurs to move to the UK” is the second most popular change for MPs (79% of MPs are positive and 4% just negative), and we have seen increasing support from both parties for “making it easier to hire skilled workers from abroad” (62% of MPs are positive and 14% negative).
  • Although MPs’ knowledge about initiatives to support entrepreneurs have risen against previous years, too many initiatives remain unknown. 54% of the MPs have never even heard of Venture Capital Trusts or don’t know enough about it to know whether it’s effective.

Read it here.

A Boost For British Businesses

Sixty-six entrepreneurs and experts have put their name to a letter calling on the next Government to put together a coherent plan to boost Britain’s businesses.

The letter supports this detailed policy report, which includes contributions from the Institute of Directors, Federation of Small Businesses, Nesta, Adam Smith Institute, Sage, IPSE, SQW, Coadec and Nesta.

The policy asks are at the vanguard of research in the UK; don’t rely on the vagaries of Brexit negotiations; could be adopted by all political parties; and wouldn’t put a significant strain on the exchequer. The project is sponsored by Sage.

Read it here.

Untapped Unicorns

Studies have shown that access to finance remains a persistent barrier to female entrepreneurs. We partnered with Barclays on the Female Founders Forum – a group of some of the UK’s most successful female entrepreneurs, who’ve joined heads to come up with tangible, actionable recommendations for tackling the funding issue. The project’s first report, Untapped Unicorns, outlines how Britain can scale up female entrepreneurship.

Read it here.

Female Founders Forum: Briefing Papers

The Female Founders Forum is a group of some of the UK's most successful female entrepreneurs. These briefing paper cover the four roundtables we hosted at Barclays, Octopus Investments, Parliament and the London Stock Exchange. The ideas from these roundtables formed the basis of the Untapped Unicorns report. The Female Founders Forum is run in partnership with Barclays.

  • Read the Barclays roundtable here.
  • Read the Octopus roundtable here.
  • Read the Parliament roundtable here.
  • Read the LSE roundtable here.

Regional Voices: Yorkshire

This briefing paper is based on the edited highlights of a roundtable discussion. It took place at the Leeds office of PwC with business leaders invested in promoting Yorkshire as a hub for entrepreneurship. Our principal guest was Iain Wright MP, chair of the Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Select Committee. The ideas presented were designed to feed into his work on the committee, the Northern Powerhouse initiative and wider debates on how to support entrepreneurship across the whole of the country.

Read it here.