Entrepreneurs form the rock upon which villages, towns, cities and communities are built.  In the UK, we need more entrepreneurs.  Especially ‘young’ ones.

Entrepreneurs are innovators that seek out new challenges, have a spirit  of daring and a will to win.   These individuals create our wealth and inspire our people.  In our locality, the historic birthplace of industrial entrepreneurship, we are looking at an economic renaissance driven by such creative and entrepreneurial talent.


We are all living through an era of massive industrial change as the ‘world of work’ moves from urbanisation and large employer /factory conditions of the past few centuries towards smaller enterprises where location is one of choice and work is ‘something you do, not somewhere you go’.

As the number of ‘traditional jobs’ fall into drastic decline and ‘unemployment’ reaches record levels, we must focus on our national ‘genetic’ for invention and innovation and great opportunity will lie before us.

To counter the alarming prospect of a ‘lost generation’ as youth unemployment reaches  the highest level since records began and 8 young people are available for every 1 job, we must tell our young people that the numbers of self employed individuals and levels of entrepreneurship are predicted to grow exponentially over the coming decade.

The dramatic industrial change fuelled by ICT empowers the individual and the emerging global economy offers unprecedented levels of commercial opportunity to sole traders, suppliers and producers.  High levels of  job creation & economic growth will come from young, growing companies and while our own county is currently hundreds of start ups behind the UK average, we’re taking an entrepreneurial approach to helping increase these numbers and our emphasis here is on THE YOUNG ONES.


And there is much to be done.

What are we doing?

We are dealing with the disproportionate impact of unemployment on our young people and helping them use their  skills and talents to create self employed enterprises.

We’re operating START UP CLUBS  in IRONBRIDGE GORGE  and in SHREWSBURY, the county town

We’re organising LOTTERY-STYLE FUND RAISING to help cover the costs of providing young entrepreneurs with workshops, inspiring books and materials

We’re asking business owners and leaders locally to ‘ADOPT-A-NEW-START’ to help with their survival and growth in the first tough year

We’re launching a START UP ZONE within a new business hub, where the young owner/operators can have a business base of their own with collaborative company around all day.  A contemporary workspace where we’re going to support fledgling entrepreneurs who will discover that they can MAKE THEIR OWN JOBS.

We have a responsibility to inspire every aspiring entrepreneur in our younger generation to believe that they can succeed and we must create the climate and conditions to allow more new businesses to start up and then improve the survival rate and the potential for growth.

People who want to help drive their local towns and cities forward have a responsibility to help young businesses to start and grow and this is a challenge we’re asking local education, business and civic leaders, employers and entrepreneurs to take on, changing lives for THE YOUNG ONES.




What a day.

Tuesday 15th November a few minutes walk from Waterloo to the event venue for GO GLOBAL ’11.  The wonderful sound of outbound jets all day and the skyline of London provided a perfect backdrop to this packed conference.   Just the right setting for some ‘export’ learning.  Learning comes before earning as I was once told by an eminent entrepreneur who has done a LOT of earning.

How right in this instance.

Did you know?  I didn’t – that only 15% of British businesses are selling into emerging and flourishing markets, 85% of us are battling hard to squeeze some juicy profits from the dry & impenetrable domestic & Eurozone markets.

GO GLOBAL ’11 hosted in London yesterday was a global revelation.  A powerful line up of advisors, entrepreneurs & experts generously gave the audience of business owners, media & consultants some business & economy changing information on how to reverse that unproductive trend

The UK needs to rebalance its trade and move into the emerging economies.  Fact.

Did you know that we currently sell more into Northern Ireland than we do into Russia?  Has our entrepreneurial sector become lazy & staid?  We really do need to get out more.  Its a fast moving world and there is so much business to be done.  British products and services are revered the world over and command a high premium.

Here are some of the markets we could be selling into:

China’s economy has grown 160% in 5 years, Indonesia’s by 150%, Brazil’s by 135% – think we’re getting the point now.

Where is our pioneering spirit of years gone by?  The entrepreneurs at Go Global who told of their remarkable enterprises do boldly go into new lands and markets and that outstanding feature connected every speaker.  The Comfort Zone is not a place that these people sit around in for long.

And in these days of the proliferation of ‘power websites & platforms’ from which to launch our businesses to new shores, we have never had such fast and painfree trade routes.


Have logged a few of the golden global nuggets from the event to share with you all. To start  –  ‘sharing’ was an oft used expression throughout the day.

One of the other much repeated words of the day was ‘relationships’ and the advice was clear.  In order to cement relationships with overseas buyers and sellers, there needs to be some eyeballing taking place.  No, the event wasn’t sponsored by BA but as one of the uber-successful ”planetrepreneurs” put it – you won’t make your fortune hiding behind your screens.

Also, THE NEED to professionally translate your site to the native language of the country you are trading with is undisputed, this is a MUST [and not expensive].

OVERWHELMING message – we’re sitting on a diamond field.

British goods and services are in high demand in the emerging economies and markets.


Providers of the fabulous orange conference bags and the world’s largest B2B trading space, if you’re looking to sell internationally this is one internet cave full of treasures.  the business is just 11 years old and now stretches across the planet with 70 offices and 17,000 employees.

Their focus is on SME’s and drive traffic that currently stands [well actually nothing seems to stand for long in the magical world of AliBaba] at 22million global buyers.   It costs circa £1900 per annum to open a global shop on this largest shopping centre in the universe with 1.9million shopfronts and 5900 product categories. Shopaholics heaven. If you’re looking to source raw materials or product design this is the place.

Top 5 categories for sales are:

Minerals and metals

Food and beverage – massive unmet demand for British food and drink overseas



Automobiles & motorcycles


This is the e-bay for service providers 500,000 contractors on this site, there will be 500,001 by this afternoon when I add my own ‘consultancy’ services, want to open a hub, here’s my contact. You know what they say about our English cricket game, if you;re not in it you can’t win it. This company are just starting their Euro launch so its early days and its a fairly Americanised model – early adopters come this way.


Crafts and Vintage goods, online market place for all you makers & artisans.


B2C We all know and love this site but do we use it at its full potential for our businesses? There are 2 styles of selling, informal and strategised and who do you think is making the keen profits?  Rapidly growing markets in Australia, where the recession has not been as keenly felt – here’s the trade route to those buyers of your goods and services.


Big learning of the day for me – had not heard of this one – but their new product SHOPBUILDER as presented by the amazing founder Wendy Tan has the most amazing underpinning trade philosophy Publish once, sell everywhere with total design control.  And Wendy also introduced a new acronym which I like SMBs – these are the proliferating small businesses that will convert economic fortunes of the G20 nations.  SMEs has never really fitted easily with me – it covers all from 0-250 employees!! so am going with the SMBs in future!


The sign of a successful event is how many people are left when it closes.   The room was still buzzing 9 hours after the opening and so, to wrap up the day for you in a 5 minute read.

If you, like me, lack foreign market knowledge and foreign cultural business etiquette  then lets look at these active trading communities that are so easy to join, spend some time invested in online market research, join a few user forums and be part of this vast and growing on line global community of buyers and sellers.

Am starting today – am looking to set up a system for us at the hub to move beyond the flat markets and out into some buoyant economies.  My first call is to UKTI who were praised over and over yesterday, I never tracked down the man from the Ministry.  But I will today.  Then its a plane ticket.


Owner/operator entrepreneurs are the heroes of the UK economy.  These nimble, innovative and determined business owners are driving half the private sector employment and are responsible for building around 50% of the country’s entire GDP.  They have heroically worked through the most depressed economic phase in recent history and still their spirits and their profit making abilities continue to soar.

Hardly covered in the general media, you will need to revert to blogs and Twitter to find reference to the many giants amongst men, trading and innovating their way out of the western world’s recession.

Two of the giants on whose shoulders we all stand have been celebrated this week on a newly released UK bank note.

The £50 note, with 200 million of them in circulation is the first to carry TWO portraits on the reverse, the Birmingham based entrepreneurs Matthew Boulton and James Watt, whose entrepreneurial ‘partnership’ efforts were astounding, are still a great example today that world class ideas come from combined efforts and do not emanate from a solitary process.

Matthew Boulton was born in Birmingham into a family business (as are many successful entrepreneurs) – he eventually took over the button and buckle making plant and set about expanding the business rapidly. He built the great Soho Manufactory and was a prolific exporter, he built a fortune in trading with the world (we need to learn from his techniques to reach distant markets in days long before there were the benefits of a virtual pathway to foreign lands).  He went on to found the Soho Mint and revolutionised British coinage via his partnership with James Watt who was a Scottish engineer and scientist (the ‘logical brain’ for the partnership).  Watt’s investigative passion was in steam engines and he worked tirelessly, acquiring several patents for hugely important inventions, it was Watt who introduced the term “horsepower” and the metric unit of power is even named after him.

The coming together of these two innovative entrepreneurs produced a globally impacting invention and their joint appearance on this week’s launched £50 note is to mark the brilliant partnership that brought steam-driven machinery to the minting of coins, not only making their own ‘fortunes’  but also revolutionising the actual production of ‘money’.

There’s a beautiful irony in today’s entrepreneurs striving for the acquisition of such fabulous ‘money’  that bears the image representing the timeless components for successful entrepreneurship;  a complimentary mix of skills, a generous collaboration and masses of real and heroic endeavour.


The British Empire was built upon the endeavours of artisans, merchants, inventors and entrepreneurs and in this new digital age we have a free and open 24 hours a day ‘shop window to the world’.  Enterprising Britons are now equipped with global trade routes that are not dependent on dangerous sea ways.

21st century small firms and agile entrepreneurs are shaping the new business landscape in Britain.  An average of 11-12% of the working population are currently self employed – we predict that figure will reach 30% by 2020 and the domestic economy will flourish at a rate more exhilarating than those heady days of the LAST Industrial Revolution.

A study released by HSBC claims that MADE IN BRITAIN goods will enjoy a comeback via a host of small scale manufacturers helping pick up the static figures in the 25% of the UK output dependent on ‘making something’.    The economic glow from this sizzling activity will bathe the UK.    Renewable energy will be a hot industry as will be the globally admired and ever inventive creative sector.

Another piece of heart-warming news comes from Experian’s latest Insolvency Index Report, showing a decrease in business failures.  Only a slight decrease but indicative of a trend that we have witnessed beginning as invaluable business support comes via peer entrepreneurs.  Collaboration not competition is the prevailing business environ and our own business is currently being mentored, thanks to the FREE services provided by the revolutionary Start Up Britain campaign

Alongside Sir Richard Branson [pictured] and his contemporaries, small ‘global’ business owners and optimistic home grown entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of this nation, they have enterprise in their genes and the biggest change we will witness over the coming months and years will be via the new ‘sharing economy’ where businesses mentor each other, the Start Up Britain mutual self-help system takes hold and 24 hours a day – entrepreneurial tips and advice are but a Tweet away.

Boom Britain here we come…..



The blogosphere is full of tips for business and here are ten more!
Personally, I can never get enough of these easy to assimilate ideas to help develop the business, hope you like this quick fix for the zillions of entrepreneurs that the UK is alive with right now…..

This really is the new spirit in business, its open, its heartening and its productive

See a problem that needs a solution? There’s your gap in the market but make sure there’s a market in the gap.

Massive point to make – serious waste of time to TRY to do your own accounts, admin and selling if its just not what you do best – focus on your prime money making skill and outsource the rest

The Internet has allowed us to track down customers seeking JUST what we offer – specialise, become expert in your tiny niche and then sell, sell sell

YOU have to be your brand, the integrity of business has never been so important. Every word you write, action you make has to support the product you produce

All of us need advice and an ‘elder statesman’ in the business – invaluable to have a sounding board, an objective eye and a loyal friend on side

Entrepreneurs are nothing if not brave individuals, they take risks, they assess risk and they daringly go where no man or woman has gone before and this takes real courage. Be bold but guard against ‘mad’ risk

Every successful entrepreneur you can find will have a team of great people around – nobody can build a successful business alone so mix with great people, go to lectures by great people, listen to TED Talks and read books about great people, you will pick up their traits

Another common denominator amongst the entrepreneurial community is that passion for their business is second nature and its a vital component for success

Dreaming is for the ‘non-doers’ the best ideas on the planet need execution and implementation. As the great ‘Action Man’ Steve Jobs said ‘Don’t go to your grave with your song still inside you”. He didn’t.



Want a job? Why not make your own! Take charge of your own earning potential and use the skills honed in school, at college, in the workplace or via your hobby or pastime, to launch your own enterprise.  You can bounce towards a new ‘self earning’ work life with a ‘self fulfilling’ new enterprise.   If you are unemployed, facing redundancy OR considering new self starting careers then self employment might be the solution.  MAKE YOUR OWN JOB using your own ‘idea’ and building a business plan around it is not the easiest of task but its well within the reach of all of us and there is so much help around.

To start with you will need the 3’Cs

1. Commercial Creativity – IS YOUR IDEA ‘sellable’?

2. Company – nobody can do this on their own and self employment can be a lonely business seek out company you will be surprised how many other people are on the same path

3. Collaboration – more of that company but this time people who are further along the line than you are who will help and save you time and money in making the same mistakes that they did.

Collaboration not competition is the new business growth technique and long may it continue.

The UK recession is challenging but within that challenge lays great opportunity for new modes of trading.  The North Atlantic countries may be suffering recessionary times, but there is massive economic growth in the emerging economies overseas.  And those markets and clients are but ‘a click’ away…..

Our business hubs in Shropshire are home to more than 150 self-employed people, half of them are freelance, ‘free agents’ and the other half are owner/operating their businesses as entrepreneurs.  What connects them all is they are highly skilled at the provision of their core service or product.  Their business interest is their passion and they love what they do.  The ‘help’ they need is with marketing, sales and legal and accountancy issues, all of which we continue to help with.   Our members relish the control they have over their working and home lives and while, on average, they work longer hours than their employed counterparts, none of them would ever go back to ‘traditional employment’.

START UP SHROPSHIRE will be organising workshops, complete with back-up materials to cover all the steps towards self-employment.  This is not just an ‘ethereal’ course where we will get you excited about a distant ‘new life’ this is a practical session packed with vital information and the tools to become a fully fledged independent contractor / entrepreneur and you can be in business before you go out of the building!

MAKE YOUR OWN JOB and START UP in Shropshire



We see new business all around and yet a sense of gloom prevails. Here are four tips to turn the gloom into boom

·         1. DON’T OVER BORROW and if you do borrow – make repayments include the principle See what paying ‘interest only’ has done for the Western World’s Economy?

·          2. THIS IS A GREAT TIME FOR A START UP the numbers of ‘start-ups’ continues to rise at record rates due in part, to unemployment at high levels (9%) and the numbers of jobs being created not keeping up Have BIG ideas but keep reasonably lean and your overheads low.  Recessionary times are the best times to start a business – trading conditions will improve, as history has shown, economic dips are ALWAYS cyclical so set up now, iron out the plan and when the big trade comes you will be ready

·         3. TRADE GLOBALLY sovereign debt is high and growing, we need to be trading internationally into markets that are cash rich [Asia, Australia and the Middle East]   Growth continues in China and the rise of the world’s biggest middle class is underway – presenting many opportunities for business – Made in Britain is a great brand overseas!

·         4. STAY NIMBLE AND FLEXIBLE keep your eye on profitability as well as growth  A big bonus for SMEs is their ability to rapidly change direction, add new products and services or just speed up or slow down if the strategies for growth aren’t working and that old adage that turnover is vanity and profit is sanity has never rung more true

Finally – find yourself some high value, low cost business space with entrepreneurial company  – here’s the ‘ad’ for the day – new spaces available soon at The Urban Hub Network in Shropshire.  Just an email away