The idea of ‘StartUp Britain’ is nice. Of course it is; encouraging entrepreneurship is brilliant, it’s very nice to have a lovely site that aggregates a few resources (it’s not like we had that already or anything) and I suppose this could grow into an ecosystem of support if the ‘coming soon’ features actually happen without bureaucracy.
But, it doesn’t solve the issues that are currently faced by entrepreneurs.
The reality is that there are lots of great entrepreneurs and lots of great companies already that are struggling to get funding in a climate/society where pre-revenue funding is not a regular thing. An issue that this does not address
@fmu tweeted me saying that the bigger issue in the UK is funding for growth and global ambitions. If he is right I dread to think what things are like at that stage. At seed stage, we have precious few investors/funds that are prepared to support very early stage companies. If you do not have a huge network built at a top university and/or are not from a background of money how does StartUp Britain/The PM envisage that these entrepreneurs get the money to make things happen?
I was lucky to be in a position where my exploits at quite a relatively young age enabled me to put a year unpaid and 20k into bluefields.com but most people are not in that situation. Recently at a ‘Springboard’ session I spoke to a VC who said (like all do – even the ‘seed stage’ ones) that he wanted to see 50k users and a more committed team before he would invest. I asked him how much most companies spend and where do they get it from, to get to that stage. He said 100k and from family. This is the Seed problem.
@scoutu mentioned to me on twitter that the new EIS will help improve this, and I agree; but we need dramatic change if young companies are to be really encouraged. Springboard had over 280 applications, and I believe Seedcamp gets more than this (this is just tech!). There is just not enough seed money.
The EFG scheme is balls, banks don’t lend unless you know someone or have revenue or stock; to speak to angels you have to pay thousands and if you apply to a seed programme your odds are very short.
My point is that the amount of money needed to fix this early stage problem is not a big. For hardly any money the government could fund the set up of 10 Seedcamps for example. I also recently met a guy who believes that 5k is all that most entrepreneurs need (he works with Uni grads to get them money so they can get something going, but has too many people to fund and not enough cash).
We also need a way to being together the angel community and make them directly accessible (through tech ideally) at no cost, something that StartUp Britain could easily work at.
Then there is the StartUp Britain ’deal’….
It’s basically 10% off from 15k worth of things that you don’t really need / should not be spending money on as a start up. Seriously, if you are a start up and you are paying for MS office you have a problem; and this deal it pails into insignificance compared to the recent AppSumo lean deal.
So, StartUp Britain is nice. That’s it. It’s more PR that substance, it won’t solve any problems, it won’t really help the community but it’s nice. If the idea is to bring together the experience and knowledge of successful entrepreneurs then that is great, but the deal is balls and the it goes nowhere to solve the issues currently faced by entrepreneurs.