We have all seen those intrepid souls, gingerly appearing from the Dragons Den lift, seeking large sums of investment, or heard the tales of the island-owning millionaire, who built his business from nothing.
These are the high-profile cases, which have given almost God-like status to those who avail themselves of the new business buzzword of ‘entrepreneur’.
However, do we even understand what the word entrepreneur means, or its bedfellow ‘innovative’?
There are many definitions, but for me, it is quite simply someone who can connect the world around them with what they already know, and come up with something which solves a problem. This is obviously my over-simplified take on the subject, and everyone will have their own thoughts. In some respects this underlines the entrepreneurial journey, which I once read was defined as “like jumping off a cliff and building a plane on the way down” – a statement which I can entirely relate to. It’s complex, and that is what makes the entrepreneurial mind-set such a fascinating subject, which is, only now, starting to gain traction in the academic world.
With all the excitement around this new and ‘sexy’ world of people changing the planet, it is easy to forget the army of self-employed people. According to the latest Government figures, there are 5.4 million private sector businesses in the UK, with SMEs making up 99.9% of that figure. That army of SME businesses employ 15.6 million people, or 60 per cent of all those employed in the UK private sector.
Small businesses are the backbone of the UK economy. In my role as a business advisor, I am constantly amazed at the drive and ingenuity of those who seek not fame and fortune, but just to take their destiny into their own hands, and make a difference.