A new digital account to unlock the UK’s enterprise potential
Britain is one of the start-up centers of the world. A recent report found that the UK is in the top five countries in the world for fostering entrepreneurial talent.
The rise of automation and the ‘gig economy’ is already shaking up the traditional jobs market and as people’s career paths and work patterns inevitably change, so do approaches to starting new businesses.
People are becoming entrepreneurs at different stages in their lives and to fit in with changing life circumstances. As there is a difference between starting a new business in your twenties and in your fifties, so there is a difference in entrepreneurial potential in different parts of the country.
Realizing UK potential
So could we be doing more to ensure that the UK fulfils its entrepreneurial potential?
· Digital platforms could provide a game-changing complement to traditional forms of business support
· Following on from our first two reports, The Great British Enterprise Opportunity and The Great British Enterprise Challenge, Atos has developed the concept of an Enterprise Account, a digital platform that aggregates and personalizes information, advice and guidance for budding entrepreneurs and growing small and micro businesses
· This would be a one-stop-shop for financing options, mentoring schemes, training opportunities and any other information that can help British entrepreneurs thrive. Some suggestions for what services an Enterprise Account could provide are as follows:
- Companies House Services
- HMRC services and alerts
- Accountancy services and tools
- Company performance information and dashboards
- Signposting to business finance options
- Access to mentoring and enterprise programs
- Access to government support schemes
- Signposting to training
- Business news and alerts
There is a clear rationale for Enterprise Accounts and some key places to start for the services that they could provide.
Fulfilling potential across the UK
The next phase of our thinking is to consider how this looks across the UK. Different regions are embracing innovative new ways to promote entrepreneurship but what can other areas do to fulfil their own entrepreneurial potential?
Quality infrastructure is vital for entrepreneurs to flourish. This can be physical – such as good quality transport links – or digital – such as highspeed broadband or mobile connectivity.
Access to talent is important. Local schools and colleges need to ensure that young people have the digital skills they need to succeed while parents of young children can be encouraged to return to work and explore new employment opportunities.
Entrepreneurial potential is different in different places with some areas better equipped and resourced than others. This entrepreneurial potential can be affected by a number of different factors and indicators of diversity, such as race, ethnicity, age, gender and how they are represented in the local community.
The extent to which different places are able to fulfil that potential is key to understanding why entrepreneurs start their businesses in a particular area and why some areas are more entrepreneurial than others. For example, there is a clear distinction between the entrepreneur who has to set up a business out of necessity to earn money and someone who is running a lifestyle business.
By analyzing currently available information and discussing with people from around the UK we hope to understand more why different areas of the country are better at encouraging entrepreneurship and are better able to fulfil their entrepreneurial potential. This is hugely important if the whole UK is going to benefit from more people starting their own businesses and how the Enterprise Account can support this activity.
Read the WPI report supported by Atos, The Great British Enterprise Challenge to learn more.
Digital Vision for Britain
This article is part of the Atos Digital Vision for Digital Britain opinion paper. At a time where the pace of technological change has never been so fast, we explore how Atos applies cutting-edge technologies to prepare our clients for a new digital era.