London 15 January: The collapse of major businesses and the failure of governments to stem the tide of bad news around the economy has created an environment rich in opportunity for entrepreneurs, according to business leaders meeting in London today.
And those entrepreneurs represent the best chance of kick-starting the UK economy, it has been claimed.
Discussing these issues at the ‘Entrepreneur Country’ conference, business leaders said the time is right for UK entrepreneurs to emerge from the shadows of the recession.
Speaking ahead of the event, keynote speaker Ed Wray, chairman of Betfair, said: “2009 is going to be a turbulent year but it will provide an opportunity for entrepreneurs to come forward and help take the UK out of recession and into the next period of economic growth.
“The US will be the first out of recession because it has an economy built around mass entrepreneurship - the UK now needs a large slice of that same kind of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurial flair.
“Every great business must be able to survive a downturn and successful businesses forged in the current conditions will be fundamentally far stronger by nature. The pressure cooker conditions of the current economic climate will undoubtedly create some new household names of tomorrow.”
Critical to business success is an acceptance of risk, said fellow keynote speaker Sir Paul Judge, chairman of Schroder Income Growth Fund.
“Risk is often seen as solely negative but if people did not take the risk then the world would not advance. Risk can bring failure but also great success.”
Glen Manchester, CEO of Thunderhead, also speaking at the event, said: “It looks pretty rough out there right now but the world won’t stop turning because of a credit crunch. Businesses will still grow and they will do so by embracing innovation. Now is not the time for ‘business as usual’, now is the time for change.”
Other speakers at the event, being held at the Institute of Directors, include Gerry Ford, Founder and CEO of Caffè Nero, Roman Stanek, CEO of Good Data and Julie Meyer CEO of Ariadne Capital and organiser of Entrepreneur Country.
Stanek said technology entrepreneurs in particular are among those best positioned to deliver and drive the greatest growth.
"Technology is a great leveller. Small businesses can achieve remarkable success, while enterprises can turn around slow moving businesses quickly if they embrace innovation.
"The beauty of technology and particularly online businesses is that the customer base is global. Launching a Web-based business right now presents a far more exciting opportunity than opening a small business in a particular geography where the catchment area is limited."
"A lot of businesses face a very bleak year ahead but creative entrepreneurs looking to exploit the scale and benefits of technology can still find gold amidst the gloom."
Julie Meyer, CEO of Ariadne Capital, said: “Think big, start small, and move fast. Those are the characteristics of the winners in Entrepreneur Country.”
Today also sees the launch of http://www.entrepreneurcountry.net.
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About Ariadne Capital
Ariadne Capital is a London-based investment and advisory firm focused on game changers in the internet and media sectors. Ariadne Capital was founded by Julie Meyer, the Chief Executive who also founded First Tuesday. Ariadne’s 50 shareholders include the founders of Alphamosaic, Betfair, Hotmail, SES Astra, SportingBet, WILINK, WorldPay and others. Ariadne’s vision is to back the best entrepreneurs in the market and to build global leaders out of Europe.
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