Start Up Britain – Driving Enterprise Led Recovery?

Another day; another website driving the ‘enterprise led recovery’.

Today sees the launch of Start Up Britain.  Described on the BIS website as ‘an independent collective of UK entrepreneurs and big businesses, representing the private sector response to the Government’s ambition for an enterprise-led recovery.  Over 60 leading global brands have pledged millions of pounds in support to new entrepreneurs’.

Now, 60 global brands offering discounts does not in my mind translate into millions of pounds worth of support. It smacks of introductory discounts designed to develop the start up market.

On its own site Start Up Britain says we are:

a new campaign by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, launched on 28th March 2011. Designed to celebrate, inspire and accelerate enterprise in the UK, it has the full backing of the Prime Minister, the Chancellor and HM Government.

This is a response from the private sector to the Government’s call for an ‘enterprise-led’ recovery. We believe that many of the important functions and services necessary to foster and champion new enterprise can be open-sourced, instead of provided by government directly. We aim to do this by creating a living market-place online for the wide range of enterprise support that is already available.

As a private sector organisation we aim to shoulder some of this responsibility for enterprise promotion with the government, re-modelling existing cost centres, and reducing the cost to the taxpayer.

So Start Up Britain is  a campaign.  But what kind of campaign?  A campaign to change policy? Or an advertising campaign?  Details on what is being campaigned for, and who the campaign is targeting are a little sketchy.

The line about ‘many of the important functions and services necessary to foster and champion new enterprise can be open-sourced, instead of provided by government directly’  leaves me perplexed.  What is meant in this context by ‘open sourced’?  What are the ‘important functions and services’?  I think they are saying leave business support up to private sector, because they can turn a few bob on it.  Not sure how this will pan out for the poorest in our communities but hey – this is an enterprise led recovery we are starting here.  We will have to rely on trickle down and philanthropy to sort out the poor.  Seems a bit like the privatisation of healthcare – where the profitable bits are taken on by the private sector leaving the expensive stuff – like enterprise in areas of deprivation to be managed by the state.

Now I love the idea of a living marketplace for enterprise support.  A place where buyers and vendors can meet, talk and exchange.  A place where customers can soon see who is the real deal and who is selling tat.  But I am not sure that a series of links to ‘some of our favourite sites’ really constitutes a living marketplace.  More of a sales and referral network really.  Many of which seem to end up in the US.

Follow ‘Tip 4 – Get a Logo’ and you end up on a San Francisco based platform that will crowd source you a logo designer on the cheap.  That is really going to help UK based graphics companies.  Thanks.  But the problem is even more acute than that –  ‘Tip 4 – Get a Logo’.  I must have assessed over 200 business advisers in my time and I have NEVER heard any of them give such a crass piece of advice as ‘get a logo’.

And it seems to me that just about every private sector sponsor/supporter of Start Up Britain gets a link to sell their book, their training course, their start up packs.  Vested self interest anyone?

If you follow the links to ‘Schools to learn about entrepreneurship’ you find there are just two.  One from Peter Jones the other from Doug Richards…

I especially liked the section that says ‘Knowing your market’. It offers links to a range of online survey platforms.  Is the implication really that an online survey is all you need to know your market?  Surely a link to some more generic advice on the importance of market research and its limitation might be more helpful?

The section on ‘Getting Funding’ does not even mention families and friends as a potential source!

If you follow the Warren Buffet link to ‘get some motivation’ then you get a malware warning.

And if you follow the link to Capital Enterprise at the time of writing you will find that it is broken.

At best what we have here is a bit of flaky directory, with no way for us to rate our experience of the providers.

And Cameron, Cable and Osbourne turn out to launch this curate’s egg?

The twitterstream for #startupbritain is telling.  Part spam, part gushing praise and hardly any objective comment at all.

Comments

  1. Mike. I’ve had a bit of a chuckle at the site too.
    The engagement of the business in local area and the recognition of their skills in order to mentor the new start up is the key.
    Your idea of ‘unmanage’ would work really well here so long as mentors developed in the local areas are encouraged and supported.
    i suppose you’ve got to start somewhere, lets hope this site encourages and can be flexible.

Trackbacks

  1. […] lengthier explanation on his blog Conversational UK. Others involved in enterprise, including Mike Chitty, are speaking out about this, branding it as a mere advertising campaign which isn’t accountable […]

  2. […] lengthier explanation on his blog Conversational UK. Others involved in enterprise, including Mike Chitty, are speaking out about this, branding it as a mere advertising campaign which isn’t accountable […]

  3. […] are others: Mike Chitty for an Enterprise Perspective – not […]

  4. […] The issue here is that it’s extremely poorly executed. They claim to be a “start up” so apparently we should cut them some slack, but what start up would release such a half baked product then invest so much in to marketing and advertising? In the world of startups, this is called a “minimum viable product”, and what they have here is hardly viable. As has been stated before on Hacker News http://news.ycombinator.com/ this site is a “This site is a disgrace and an insult to would-be startups.” If they really wanted to make an “iTunes for enterprise” when why isn’t there a built in solution for others to add their businesses to this marketplace? Why is the mentoring section – perhaps the highest value part of this site, nonexistent? If they want to be a Trip Advisor for entrepreneurs, surely the integral, fundamental part of that would be a reviews system – right from the start? As Jamie Wells of glasses direct said on his blog, he wants to see a map of Britain showing events up and down the country – but why doesn’t this exist from the start? This is exactly what Mike Chitty suggested Mike Chitty […]

  5. […] from the start, or why isn’t Lanyrd or Plancast integration included? This is exactly what Mike Chitty suggested. What would be the harm in holding off this launch  until they develop such features […]

  6. […] lengthier explanation on his blog Conversational UK. Others involved in enterprise, including Mike Chitty, are speaking out about this, branding it as a mere advertising campaign which isn’t accountable […]

Speak Your Mind

*

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: