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Britain’s Entrepreneurs call on next Government to cut bureaucracy and be more accountable to wealth-creators

Survey reveals majority feel stifled by state intervention and demand tax breaks to kick-start recovery

15th January 2010, London, UK: A survey of some of Britain’s most influential entrepreneurs has suggested many regard Whitehall as overbearing and bureaucratic and lacking the initiatives to help wealth-creators drive growth in the economy.

Asked to highlight issues which would bolster growth, more than two thirds of respondents called for steps including the eradication of PAYE and NI contributions for start-ups in their first two years of trading. Almost eighty per cent backed a review of Entrepreneurs Relief on Capital Gains Tax to encourage greater investment in smaller businesses; and 86 per cent said a reduction in Government regulation of small business was either ‘critical’ or ‘desirable’.*

The survey also painted a picture of entrepreneurs viewing central Government as bloated. When asked how they would improve the environment for business, the most popular response (40 per cent) was to reduce the size of Government. Seventy per cent of entrepreneurs also called for a more streamlined system of support for start-ups with one central place to apply for every available Government grant.

Of the 174 businesses surveyed, more than 70 per cent said their confidence would be improved by a Conservative Government, while 63 per cent said they would lack confidence with a re-elected Labour Government.

The poll was conducted through December by Entrepreneur Country, a community led by Julie Meyer of entrepreneurs, investors, corporate partners and media who are dedicated to reducing the cost of entrepreneurship and educating society about the voice of the entrepreneur. It found that most high growth businesses feel that a combination of taxes, lack of incentives and tax relief, and bureaucracy, have combined to stifle the hopes of entrepreneurs.

Julie Meyer, CEO of Ariadne Capital and Dragon on the BBC Dragons Den Online show says: “The 2010 elections are crucial for our future economy. We need to see more recognition of, and help for, the UK’s entrepreneurs. Statistical evidence suggests that a vital six per cent of high-growth businesses create a full 54 per cent of all new jobs, so it’s absolutely crucial that entrepreneurs are given as much help as possible. The high growth businesses who responded to our survey are the very people who will lead Britain out of recession and guarantee the return to economic prosperity of the country. We can’t afford to leave them hamstrung by bureaucracy when they’re trying to build global leading firms”.

One of the founding partners of Entrepreneur Country, Guy Rigby, Head of Entrepreneurial Services at accounting and financial services firm Smith and Williamson, said “We’re not naive and we all understand the pressures our Government is under because of the budget deficit. But, in tough times, entrepreneurs have to make inspired and imaginative decisions and the next Government will need to behave in the same way. While tough choices may be the order of the day, particularly in the public sector, we all believe there need to be incentives for the people who will drive growth and create jobs. If entrepreneurs aren’t supported then how can they help the rest of society?”

NESTA (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) revealed recently that that just 11,500 or six per cent of UK businesses with 10 or more employees are classed as 'high-growth' companies. Interestingly this small number of businesses has generated around half, or 54 per cent, of new jobs.*

Ariadne Capital’s model is based on the concept of ‘entrepreneurs backing entrepreneurs’ which it has pioneered since 2000. It has 53 leading entrepreneurs as founding investors and recently announced the backing of its debut venture capital fund, the Ariadne Capital Entrepreneurs Fund (ACE Fund)

Note to editors:

* Full survey findings available on request, please contact:

Boiler Plate:

Entrepreneur Country is a community of 25,000 entrepreneurs, investors, corporate partners and media. Founded by Julie Meyer, Entrepreneur Country and its members aim to publicise the voice of the entrepreneur; shape the dialogue, create the connections, celebrate the victories and persist in its mission until society understands how fundamental building high growth companies is to economic growth for the UK. Partners include Avanta, Barclays, James Hallam, Nasstar, Porter Novelli, Smith and Williamson, etv media group and Technology Strategy Board.
Entreprenur Country

Interviews are available on request.

For further information, please contact:

Danielle Heximer
Porter Novelli
+44 (0)20 7853 2358
+44 (0)7870 596 298