There are now a record number 4.8 million small businesses in the UK, and there is no denying that, due to the financial crisis there have been an increasing number of high calibre individuals starting their own businesses who otherwise may not have done so. We need to hope that these start-ups get the support to develop their ideas before the warmth of a “safe secure job” lures them back into employment.
Why should you care? Well the increasing number of highly professionally trained new start business owners is a growth market you may need to pay attention to. Not only can new customers emerge but also nimble footed competitors.
We must nourish the entrepreneurial culture. The 2012 GEM report from the University of Strathclyde suggests that one of the key areas where Scots fall behind international competitors is in Start-up Skills and Attitudes. This is where LibertySpace is proud to support the free accelerator initiative for new businesses called The Acorn Enterprise initiative, which consists of a free 20 week structured development programme, hosted at the Liberty Hubspace in Rosyth and The Flour Mill Dundee.
When I started out with my own small roofing material business in 2001 there were no collaborative environments where you could work alongside peers, it was a lonely experience. Even when I approached a local Fife based Innovation Centre to rent an office I was told we weren’t innovative enough to be allowed to rent an office from them so was turned away!
The Acorn Initiative has just completed it’s 7th successful programme and has just started an inaugural one in Dundee, offering a sound footing for new emerging businesses. These business owners don’t need to be stellar entrepreneurs in order to get on the programme. The business ideas don’t have to be “off the wall”, normal businesses are a huge part of our economy and also need supporting.
Ask yourself, how can your business help Scotland’s new starts? How about through providing mentorship, financial assistance, providing the right contacts or by supporting The Princes Trust and other local initiatives. We can all do our bit.
If you want to be involved with the Acorn Initiative either as an attendee or in a supportive role then please get in touch. www.acornenterprise.co.uk
I have to add one last thing, we bought the very same Fife based “Innovation Centre” a number of years ago and our very own small, mundane Roofing material business has office and warehouse space in there later this month, along with a huge range of other thriving successful businesses.