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Start Up Britain

posted: March 29th, 2011

Lots of controversy on Twitter today about Start Up Britain – the new website being endorsed by Cameron as the way to kickstart the economy. 

The problem with new media is that people take out from what they read on Twitter – long before they actually visit the website and find out what’s really going on.  This means the ‘take-out’ is more important than the reality.  And that’s where Start Up Britain has created themselves a problem…

The reality is that Start Up Britain is NOT a government initiative, it’s more of a collaborative joint venture among various commercial organisations.  And this is where the problem comes.  For, while the site is billed as a ‘not for profit’ organisation, it’s clearly designed to generate lots of revenue for the participating businesses, many of whom seem to be clients of the PR agency who launched the site – Seven Hills.

It’s this uncomfortable marriage of the government endorsed/not for profit veneer over a clearly commercial motive which leaves the nasty taste in the mouth.

Don’t get me wrong, I am 100% behind enterprise and encouraging small business – and there’s nothing wrong with making money but let’s be clear: Start Up Britain is a commercial collective who are using this as a vehicle to make money from the boom in Enterprise – with some rather priceless free endorsement from our PM thrown in.

It’s exactly the reason why the old Business Links weren’t allowed to recommend any specific business or product.

[The rather sad thing is that, behind all this razzle dazzle PR fanfare from our PM, as a result of the cuts great enterprise encouraging institutions - like the British Library Business and IP Centre where I have been a mentor for the past three years - lose their funding this Thursday, and as a result are having to severely curtail their activity.  Meanwhile, HMRCE together with state owned banks continue to wind up Britain's existing small businesses on a daily basis.]

Nonetheless, well done to Seven Hills for creating lots of PR noise – it’s just not all the right noise I am sure they wanted to hear.

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4 comments to “Start Up Britain”

  • Gordon Rae

    29.03.11

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    The message is really clear: Cameron wants to make the UK a good country for startups. That creates high expectations, which the launch promotion encouraged. The problem is with delivery. The Startup Britain website is not much more than a statement of faith, and a link farm.
    The first rule of entrepreneurship is not to be easily satisfied!

  • Danny Slevin

    29.03.11

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    Agree with pretty much all of that Rachel. While i think a lot of the criticism has been over the top, it does seem to promise a lot more than has been initally delivered. Start up businesses do not need to be patronised to within an inch of their life, but instead require real, actionable support. A hand up, not a hand out.

  • Alan P

    29.03.11

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    Good point re British Library – We started our company there, and their value was far, far greater tha £1,500 of voucher coupons.

  • Stephen

    07.04.11

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    Its all a pyramid.
    When the pressure is placed upon the pyramid those near the top exit for a while until the dust settles. Those left behind fight it out with the rungs below and the poor get trampled upon in a furious struggle for ever diminshing resources.

    There is no startup Britain. No big society. No broken Britain.

    The only people who will startup Britain is the people when they wake up to the fact the global game is achanging and Britain is getting left more and more behind.

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