Are regional entrepreneurs the key to the UK general election?

The campaign for the UK general election has kicked off in earnest in recent weeks, and the Conservatives’ ‘northern powerhouse’ initiative looks set to be front and centre of the debate...

Just last week the Prime Minister and the Chancellor visited Manchester to relaunch the initiative a few months out from an election that seems set to go down to the wire. Some could dismiss it as a cynical PR ploy, but we believe that David Cameron was absolutely right to extoll the virtues of cities outside of London.

At VentureFounders, we are lucky enough to see first hand the great businesses being created by British innovation and business acumen. By working closely with companies from all parts of the UK to help them realise their full potential we are fully aware that our economy extends far beyond the TFL tube network. 2015 is set to be an encouraging year for business as attention shifts away from the capital to give other cities and regions their rightful recognition.

A less London-centric view of our nation’s economic strength would be timely recognition of the entrepreneurial spirit found up and down the country. Our enterprising attitude led to the UK recently being crowned the most entrepreneurial country in Europe by the Global Entrepreneurship Index. By promoting and incubating this temperament throughout the entire nation, we believe the Prime Minister’s vision to ‘rebalance our national economy’ and close the gap between London and the rest of the nation can be delivered.

We’ve seen that the companies disrupting industries aren’t bound geographically to the capital, but spring up everywhere. 

From LabMinds in Oxford, to Hiring-Hub in Manchester and the FreedMan chair in Warrington, high-growth UK businesses based outside of London have been extremely attractive to investors and are going from strength to strength. In 2015, we have an exciting pipeline of firms drawn from all around the country to partner with and we are looking forward to helping them to secure the funding that they need to grow.

If more evidence was needed, just take a look at the Sunday Times Fast Track 100, a league table ranking Britain’s fastest-growing companies. Of the top 10, which boasts high-flying companies in sectors as diverse as energy, food, fashion and finance, all but two are based outside the capital.

We must not only bang the drum for London’s success stories, but celebrate our national entrepreneurial achievements in its entirety.

An emerging misguided conception is that nowhere else in the UK can rival London when it comes to being a fertile breeding ground for businesses to start out and flourish. Burgeoning clusters in the technology sector, for example, are testament to the myriad of opportunities on offer elsewhere. London has certainly earned its reputation as the world’s premier business destination, with the fintech sector and Silicon Roundabout particularly in vogue of late, but developments in the capital receive a disproportionate amount of attention.

New figures released by Start Up Britain at the turn of the year corroborate this. While London maintains its powerhouse status, an upward trend in the number of businesses starting up outside of the capital is clear evidence of the strength of British entrepreneurship throughout the nation. A record breaking 581,173 businesses were registered with Companies House last year, and the spotlight being shone on other hot spots to a greater extent would help provide the impetus and momentum that could see 2015 break this record again.

The future is bright for British business, with more support and advice for entrepreneurs around than ever before, and we are looking forward to the year ahead. Most of all, we’re thrilled to be working with the innovative and boundary-breaking businesses that will fuel our future growth and are flourishing across the length and breadth of the UK. 

This year, we must not only bang the drum for London’s success stories but celebrate our national entrepreneurial achievements in its entirety. Our regions are full to the brim with bright sparks who have the business ideas to revolutionise industries but think success is out of reach if they aren’t in the capital. If support, information and finance for start ups and growing businesses is fairly distributed across the UK, our nation’s economic trajectory is bound to rocket.

This is a guest blog and may not represent the views of Virgin.com. Please see virgin.com/terms for more details. Thumbnail from gettyimages.

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