Posted on 19 September 2023
The event, hosted by York Central MP Rachael Maskell, explored the potential for Britain to implement a new business policy that encourages more people from any community to start and own their own businesses.
Attendees included Shadow Skills Minister Seema Malhotra, Yorkshire MP Robbie Moore and John Lamont, Minister for Scotland, alongside former Secretary of State for Education Rt Hon Justine Greening.
Enterprise Works improves entrepreneurship support for all communities, uses enterprise skills to empower individuals and works with businesses, researchers and policymakers to enable economic growth and influence government policy.
Professor Kiran Trehan, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Partnerships and Engagement at the University of York, chaired the event with some of the UK’s leading social and business entrepreneurs, including philanthropist Sir Rod Aldridge and Richard Harpin.
Commitment to innovation
Professor Trehan said: "We have a moment in time opportunity not only to reaffirm our commitment to innovation and enterprise but to redefine it. We believe in the power of enterprise as a driver for a more inclusive and equitable economy. In working collectively with policymakers, entrepreneurs, communities and business, together we are driving an innovative agenda for change."
Rt Hon Justine Greening, Chair of the Purpose Coalition and former Secretary of State for Education, said “Too many people are put off from starting their own business because of a lack of social mobility and opportunity - we have the potential to change that.
“This event brought together the very best of entrepreneurial thinking. It gave us all pause for thought about how we can make a difference, and redefine our business policy for the better - the University of York is leading the way in that work.”
Representatives from the University of York attended the dinner in the House of Commons, hosted by York Central MP Rachael Maskell
Economic and social change
Sam Gardner, Director of Enterprise Works, said: "Entrepreneurs are a powerful force for economic and social change in our City, region and nationally. Enabling entrepreneurs from any community, giving them a pathway, the community and support they need to succeed, is vital for our continuing social and economic prosperity."
Social Enterprise organisations already contribute around £60bn to the UK economy. However, that vital contribution is often not recognised or appreciated in terms of the scale or how social enterprise can be nurtured to drive more inclusive economic opportunity.
Redefining business policy in Britain is not just good for social mobility but for the UK economy too. Research shows that if the number of women-led businesses were equal to those led by men, the UK economy could see a potential £250 billion increase in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2030.
Prosperity and opportunity
Furthermore, overcoming barriers faced by Ethnic Minority Businesses, particularly in accessing finance, markets and quality business support, could increase their GVA contribution by £75 billion a year.
Richard Harpin, Founder & Chairman of HomeServe and Growth Partner, said: "The UK's medium sized businesses are the powerhouse of the UK economy. Enabling growth in these companies will have a profound effect on the UK; creating jobs, prosperity and opportunity. To ensure we maximise this opportunity we need to ensure our medium size businesses understand the investment environment, have access to mentoring and coaching and have the leadership skills required to adapt to our rapidly evolving business environment."
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