Doug Richard: Government policies hinder innovation and stifle business

Mr Richard, who is an American himself points out that “In America if you want to start a new venture, whether it’s the next Google or a laundromat, everyone cheers you on, in Britain you enter a Kafkaesque world of bureaucracy,”

He has called for the Government, whoever they may be after this years election, to rule that a specific proportion of its multi-billion pound procurement budget must be used to support small and new businesses, modelled on the small business set aside system in America, where up to 5pc of publicly funded projects have to be contracts signed with smaller companies.

Mr Richard, who was the guest of Ken Clarke, the shadow business secretary, at the Conservative Party conference last year, is an influential figure in Tory circles and it is thought that his manifesto will be seized on by the Tories to cut business red tape and quangos.


“You should be able to start up a business in an afternoon,” he said, highlighting definite evidence that Tory leader David Cameron is possibly
listening to Mr Richard as last week on the the BBC’s Andrew Marr show Cameron pledged to make Britain “the fastest place in the world to start
a new company”.
“What we have at the moment is powerfully ineffective. We need to champion the pivotal place in society of entrepreneurs and the potential of social enterprise as a pathfinder out of recession.” Richard added.

Mr Richard’s opinion is also one that was picked up in a recent survey of some of Britain’s most influential entrepreneurs which suggested many regard Whitehall as overbearing and bureaucratic and lacking the initiatives to help wealth-creators drive growth in the economy.
Asked to highlight issues which would bolster growth, more than two thirds of respondents called for steps including the eradication of PAYE and NI contributions for start-ups in their first two years of trading. Almost eighty per cent backed a review of Entrepreneurs Relief on Capital Gains Tax to encourage greater investment in smaller businesses; and 86 per cent said a reduction in Government regulation of small business was either ‘critical’ or ‘desirable’.
Seventy per cent of entrepreneurs also called for a more streamlined system of support for start-ups with one central place to apply for every available Government grant.
The poll was conducted through December by Entrepreneur Country, a community led by Julie Meyer of entrepreneurs, investors, corporate partners and media who are dedicated to reducing the cost of entrepreneurship and educating society about the voice of the entrepreneur. It found that most high growth businesses feel that a combination of taxes, lack of incentives and tax relief, and bureaucracy, have combined to stifle the hopes of entrepreneurs.
At the roundtable discussion last week, which included Business Matters managing editor Richard Alvin, Julie Meyer, CEO of Ariadne Capital and Dragon on the BBC Dragons Den Online show said: “The 2010 elections are crucial for our future economy. We need to see more recognition of, and help for, the UK’s entrepreneurs. Statistical evidence suggests that a vital six per cent of high-growth businesses create a full 54 per cent of all new jobs, so it’s absolutely crucial that entrepreneurs are given as much help as possible. The high growth businesses who responded to our survey are the very people who will lead Britain out of recession and guarantee the return to economic prosperity of the country. We can’t afford to leave them hamstrung by bureaucracy when they’re trying to build global leading firms”.

Resource Links:
Doug Richard’s School for Start ups
Entrepreneur Country