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Former Dragon calls for reform

Former Dragon, Doug Richard, calls for reform

Former Dragon’s Den star, Doug Richard, has highlighted a number of points that he believes will assist the UK’s economic growth post-recession.

1. Increase economic freedom for new and small businesses. Mr Richard believes that cutting the time it takes to start a new business, streamlining government regulation and exempting small business from many regulations will greatly improve new start-ups and small business growth.

2. Stop paying people to be unemployed and instead share the costs of them being taught to be employed. He goes on to say that apprenticeships should not only be seen as solely for trades-people but for any job in any company. Richard states that whilst employers are unable to “underwrite” the period they need to make graduates and students into productive employees then there is no real hope for them.

3. Since the UK’s largest customer is effectively our own government they need to dedicate a percentage of all their procurement to small businesses.

4. Broadband needs to be quicker across the entire length of the country. Doug Richard believes that this is the “key infrastructure” that will “kindle a wave of creative destruction and increased wealth that will match the industrial revolution.” This is an ‘interesting’ turn of phrase as I don’t think ‘creative destruction’ is quite the wording I would have chosen for it. However, I am certainly inclined to agree that faster broadband is necessary to improve online business and customer interaction.

5. Doug also goes on to speak about broadening the scope for “Social Entrepreneurs” and how new legal frameworks need to be put in place to encourage a “broad range of social business.” That’s great, but what are social entrepreneurs and what impact do they have on society? Is this just another buzz phrase he randomly plucked off the internet? I am possibly being a bit harsh but too many people fling buzz words around to easily.

Social Entrepreneurs are, in basic terms, a person that recognises a social problem and uses the principals of business to organise and manage a venture to encourage social change.

It’s important to remember that a business entrepreneur measures performance in terms of profit and return. However, a social entrepreneur will measure performance in terms of impact on society as well as profit and return. I like to think of them as charitable workers with a profitable aim. Although I’m sure they would like to be seen solely as charitable workers despite the hidden agenda.

So Doug Richard has had a lot of good ideas to help improve the UK’s economy through small businesses and new business start-ups but is it likely to have much impact? Only time will tell – your comments please people!

Relevant links:

Dragon’s Den former member suggests tax exemption for small businesses

The Entrepreneurs Manifesto Declaration of Rights – Empowering the New Wave


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Photo by Dominic Harness

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