Launch of Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) at The British Library

Peter Jones and Priya Lakhani from Masala Masala discuss enterprise education by Enterprise_UK.
Peter Jones and Priya Lakhani from Masala Masala discuss enterprise education

I spent Monday morning at the launch of GEW from the comfort of The British Library conference centre.

The event was well chaired by Simon Jack from the BBC, and included some light-hearted banter between him and Peter Jones (of BBC’s Dragon’s Den fame). Peter persuaded Simon to spend a day with him in order to experience the world of the entrepreneur from the inside. He also got him to agree to give a plug for GEW one morning during the BBC Breakfast Show this week, so watch this space.

1. Our Chief Executive Lynne Brindley gave the welcome speech and included the intriguing concept that The British Library has more good ideas inside it than any other building in the world. I think it is a line I can see myself using in future.

2. The opening words were from Miles Templeman Director General at the Institute of Directors. Who felt that talent is not enough to ensure success in business – inspiration is necessary to start things off. But what unless potential talent is developed and nurtured business survival and growth is unlikely.

3. Next we watched a short video from Peter Mandelson, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills.

4. Then we had a fascinating panel session with Carl Schramm the Chief Executive of the Kauffman Foundation and Jim O’Neill the Head of Global Economic Research at Goldman Sachs.

Schramm acknowledged Prime Minister Gordon Brown as the key driver behind turning the original UK Enterprise Week into Global Entrepreneurship Week, which now includes 88 countries. In order to learn how to teach people to become entrepreneurs to start high growth businesses they have created the Kauffman Laboratories for Enterprise Creation –

Their research shows that entrepreneurship has been the key to recovery of the last seven economic declines. In recessions economists and governments turn back to Keynesian economics and decide that government intervention is the key to economic recovery. Schramm believes government industrial policy is antithetical to entrepreneurship. Instead what we need is government policy and pragmatic coaching skills to support creation of new entrepreneurs. He believes there is a  sea-change occurring, so we now see enterprise as the key to economic growth, and gave the economies of China and India as proof of this.

Libraries and support – Andrew Carnegie created the US public library system – the Kauffman Foundation are looking very closely at libraries as incubators for business.

5. O’Neill who’s claim to fame is having coined the term BRIC nations (Brazil, India and China), stated that entrepreneurship is the future of our and the world economy.

  • He thought it unfortunate that economists have proved why they are known at the miserable profession.
  • The consensus forecast for world economy is 3.7%, down from 5% over the last five years. This is due to continued progress in BRIC economies. The assumption that our recession is reflected elsewhere is not true.
  • Economically speaking China has created the equivalent of 2 UK’s in the last eight years.
  • Brazil is due to overtake Italy in terms of GDP (gross domestic product).
  • In China 13 million a month taking mobile phone contracts
  • Twice as many cars will be sold in China this year than the United States.
  • The expansion of BRIC economies provides opportunities for British entrepreneurs. He gave example of UK football league as an example of world business success.

6. Question time:

The British know how to invent, but not how to market themselves.

Rod Aldrich Foundation –

What is the secret to growing economies entrepreneurship success. Awareness that they have been given the chance to become wealthy. People in Britain like to be regarded as creative, but following it through to economic wealth is a cultural issue.

Over half of the US fasted growing 500 companies never wrote a business plan.

Business academies can’t spark entrepreneurial attitudes, although they can help with best practice.

7. Video from Karen Kanaan the Global Entrepreneurship Week host in Brazil. Their goal was for 1% of the population to become involved (2 million people), but actually ended up with 4.5 million people registered.

8. Panel Session:

Matt Brittin the Managing the Director of Google UK.

  • Google perspective – The Internet allows business to be global. The world has gone digital, so there is a big opportunity for entrepreneurs.
  • Example of purely gadgets digital business. Example of, used internet searching keyword targeting to bring their service to their intention.

David Wei the Chief Executive of, China’s biggest internet business.

  • Entrepreneurship cannot be educated, trained or supported by Government, it can be inspired. We need to take away comfortable safety net to create a culture of entrepreneurship.
  • Who is the new idol for entrepreneurship, why do we still see a video of Richard Branson twenty years on.
  • PowerPoint leaves your power and point on the screen. You end up with no power and no point.
  • The internet is the equivalent of the railways and highways of the last century.

Emma Harrison the founder A4E

  • Started an illegal tuck-shop at school.
  • Elected as a school governor at 15, but was still truanting from school.
  • Failed her A –levels, so went back to college to get engineering qualifications, put learner plates on a motorbike and drove to Universities to get places.
  • Joined her dad in business who left after 18 days and learnt how to survive in business.
  • Advice – find your own path, find a mentor, every day find four ways to market your business.

9. Panel discussion

  • Intro from Lord Davies, Minister of State for Trade, Investment and Small Business.
  • 4.8 million SME’s – we are a nation of entrepreneurs – appealed to the press to celebrate our success, not to concentrate on failures.
  • Peter Jones wants to introduce entrepreneurship into every school in the UK. He believes entrepreneurship can be taught.
  • Julie Meyer – entrepreneur country . net – We need to become a nation of believers (not a religious belief). A surprising lack given this country produced Winston Churchill. Business success is a like a drug, once successful they will want to help others build their success.

Panel Discussion by Enterprise_UK.

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