Sunday, 31 May 2015

Britain needs talent

Allister Heath highlights the importance of the international student market to the UK economy. But the talent that comes into our universities from overseas is worth much more than just a short term cash injection. 

Many overseas students coming to the UK, are some of the worlds most talented, and offer an extraordinary benefit to our society and economy. They have the capacity to help UK businesses understand how to penetrate overseas markets and, as the London First study highlighted, these future leaders are more likely to do business in the UK as a result of studying here. We should also not forget that the Britain's global position in research is a consequence of being able to get the very best postgraduate students, postdoctoral researchers and professors from across the globe. Many go on to make remarkable contributions to our knowledge economy, through teaching, research, and by creating new companies and winning Nobel prizes. 

In todays competition for the brightest minds, it is vital that the UK continues to be a destination of choice for the most promising young talents, wherever they come from.  Mr Javid needs to be allowed to get on with his job and make it unambiguously clear, that Britain welcomes smart people from across the world,  and is serious about, and open for, international business.

A version of this was published as a letter in the Daily Telegraph.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Cutting tax and red tape is not enough for Britain's entrepreneurs

There is no doubt that the coalition government could do more to cut taxes and red tape, but this alone is unlikely to dramatically improve the number of globally successful entrepreneurs and businesses.

We need action on four fronts:

First, Britain needs to get better at providing working capital to those thinking of setting up or scaling their business. 

Second we need an immigration policy that is more welcoming to the talent that entrepreneurs need to grow their business. 

Third, we need to be less risk averse, and recognise that most successful entrepreneurs will fail before they succeed. 

Finally and most importantly we need to encourage our entrepreneurs to think big. There is evidence that only 1% of small businesses in the UK have high growth potential, compared with 3% in the US. 

A version of this was published as a letter in the Daily Telegraph 29 April 2014

Friday, 21 March 2014

Britain's universities are serious about business

Tim Farron MP, President of the Liberal Democrats, was right to highlight some of the challenges facing all entrepreneurs in this country - but the idea that Britain's scientific community is failing at business is simply not accurate.