Entrepreneurs: Your Country Needs You!

A new initiative, backed by The Duke of York, is looking for the next generation of British entrepreneurs to help stimulate the economy and create more jobs.

'Pitch @ Palace', as it has been called, is a scheme available to teams of students who are currently in university education and are involved in developing an 'interesting piece of tech'. 

In a setting reminiscent of the BBC's television show 'Dragons' Den', the teams will be given three minutes to make their pitch in front of industry leaders and investors. These include the likes of former Dragon Doug Richards' School for Startups and current Dragon Peter Jones' Foundation. Also in attendance will be a selection of venture capitalists and the CEOs of large British companies. 

Writing in the Telegraph, the Duke made clear his desire to help budding businesses, expressing his belief that entrepreneurs were critical to the well-being of the British economy: "There must be a common acknowledgement that entrepreneurs will drive growth and be the wealth creators of the future."

Therefore, the hope is that 'Pitch @ Palace' will help these ambitious students obtain the funding and mentoring advice that will give their businesses the best chances of success in the long term.

Even with such backing, though, it won't be an easy task. The Duke pointed out the stark statistics facing new businesses. Of the 525,000 new businesses registered last year, only one in three will reach a third birthday and only ten per cent of those will reach a tenth birthday.

On a positive note, there shouldn't be a shortage of applicants for the scheme. A study by Nectar Business has found a rich entrepreneurial vein in Britain. Over 40 per cent of 18-30 year olds questioned would prefer to run their own businesses rather than be someone else's employee, even if it meant only earning half the salary.

What's more, 80 per cent of those questioned signalled that it was their intention to actually start their own business within the next three years. 

For those who aren't eligible to apply for the Duke's scheme but still feel the urge to take the plunge and start a business, the government is introducing the Employment Allowance from the 6th April to help reduce employer's national insurance contributions (NICs) and in turn encourage employment.

According to Michael Hayman, a successful entrepreneur in his own right, this move by the government is in part motivated by its desire to encourage more entrepreneurs to start trading and employing people and in part a thank you to those who have already done so. As he puts it: 'for building your business and creating jobs, thank you."

The Employment Allowance will give small businesses the opportunity to save up to £2,000 on NICs. As many as 1.25 million businesses and charities will be able to take advantage of this saving and approximately 450,000 businesses and charities won’t have to pay any employer NICs.

Finally, Richard Branson, arguably the most famous British entrepreneur, has given his top ten tips to reach the top. Speaking to the BBC, he advises that perseverance, tenacity and a positive outlook are vital for success in business.

Photo By World Economic Forum [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons