4th February 2010

I encourage you to read “The Entrepreneurs Manifesto” from the pen of Doug Richard. This is a concise, passionate and thought provoking pamphlet which is worthy of wide debate. I have criticised his previous offering the “Richard Report” which whilst it contained some excellent points they were lost in easily dismissed and – dare I say – inaccurate assumptions. However Mr Richard has moved on and is obviously warming to his theme.

Who could really disagree with his points on a burgeoning state with the answer to many of our problems being the enterprise and ingenuity of the new breed of entrepreneurs? The answer is probably plenty of people in the public sector but does this mean that Doug Richard is wrong? For what my opinion is worth – No.

In this document he is espousing a vision and so it is light on the “how and when” but it is for others to refine the detail. I believe that we stand faced with a wonderful opportunity which only comes along once every generation – the chance to effect major change for the general good. The financial crisis should allow us to question everything and wipe away the status quo – whether it does or not is in our hands. Will we elect a government with the strength to do what is right instead of what is popular? Does any party offer us this choice?

As a social enterprise ourselves we stand firm behind the rationale that we have the potential to offer more than purely profit driven organisations. We take a long term view which does not have to take into account shareholder return – this means that we have grown quicker than the average company, produce greater surpluses and help more people. In other words good business needs a vision and this is what government in general tends to lack.

So what should we disagree with in the “manifesto”? Well I would counter the sweeping argument about business support and instead put forward that it is new enterprise that keeps the market fresh. As such put time and money into incentivising new business starts from a wide sector of society, nurture them for 12 months, equip them with the skills to survive and thrive and then it is time to allow them to make their own way without government help. So 7/10 for this one Doug – it just needs some refinement! Otherwise this is A* and one can only hope that whoever gets elected works out the detail as a matter of urgency and implement the actions without delay. Or is this just wishful thinking………

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