The perception of entrepreneurial opportunities and the ability to exploit them is closely related to social norms that encourage adventure, such as the availability of venture capital, access to cutting-edge technologies, a good diversified entrepreneurship education system and a sound professional infrastructure. This has major implications for the UK’s entrepreneurial economy.
Entrepreneurship education, at all levels, can very effectively prepare and train students to start and run new businesses. This type of education is strong and growing stronger in business schools across the country, but it needs to spread beyond business. Very few students take business subjects, and not every business school student is obligated or chooses to take an entrepreneurship course. Thus the number of people exposed to high-level entrepreneurship education is relatively small in the UK. It is therefore of great importance that entrepreneurship education be broadened.
Engineering and other technology graduates have the potential to generate innovations that may be the basis for high-growth companies. They need to learn techniques to discern whether or not these innovations have commercial potential. As such, universities need to encourage the integration of their degree requirements between entrepreneurship/management and engineering/technology.
However, there are often many obstacles to such cooperation, including funding issues; credit allocations teaching loads of the faculty; Conflict of appointments and lack of facilities. While a few schools are facing and overcoming these issues, there is a real need to see more active collaboration on college campuses.
A more focused effort is also needed to introduce entrepreneurship and basic economic principles at the primary and secondary levels. At the elementary level, these concepts can be integrated throughout the curriculum. At the secondary level, entrepreneurship skills and basic economic principles can be offered as stand-alone courses. Many people enter the workforce without a college education and take no responsibility for exposure to entrepreneurship training.
While not every graduate of a school has the ability or desire to obtain a higher education, almost everyone has the potential to start a new business. The average high school graduate may not start a fast-growing high-tech company, but he or she can start a landscaping business, retail business, or some other venture that will employ other people and contribute to economic adjustment. As such, it is critical to provide at least basic instruction to ensure that these future entrepreneurs have the understanding and some level of proficiency in the skills needed to carry out and run the business.
To avoid duplication problems, many national experts recommend creating a “clearing house” for government programs. A clearinghouse, which may be web-based, can provide an effective means for entrepreneurs to gain knowledge of and gain access to specific programs.
In addition, there is also a need to ease compliance pressures on entrepreneurial firms. Streamlining compliance requirements will improve entrepreneurial efficiency at the most critical times in the life of an enterprise. Many new projects report that they have had difficulty staying on top of all reporting requirements. Moreover, reducing the required paperwork would reduce manpower restrictions on new projects, thus increasing their chances of survival in the early years.
There is also a reported “gap” in seed funding. If the gap exists, it may be more pronounced for different industries, different geographies, or for distinct groups of entrepreneurs. The large amount of financing provided through informal channels, orders of magnitude greater than that provided by formal venture capital investments and which was hitherto unknown and underappreciated, suggests that some mechanisms to bridge the gap may have developed without recognition.
There may not be a gap in the availability of such capital but, rather, in the entrepreneur’s knowledge of where he lives and how to make use of it. Experts may be divided on whether there is a gap in the initial capital due to the fact that many entrepreneurs choose not to bear the time, cost, and bureaucracy involved in researching and capturing such capital.
Increasing the visibility of entrepreneurs by highlighting their story can be an engaging way to encourage others to pursue their entrepreneurial opportunities. It reflects widespread acceptance of entrepreneurship as a career option in the UK.
In the absence of a more comprehensive and long-term research program on the entrepreneurial process, UK government policies regarding new and start-up companies will continue to fluctuate in reaction to political whims and pressure from special interest groups. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure an increased understanding of the basic principles of entrepreneurship in order to ensure sustainable growth in the entrepreneurial sector.