Labour Party Conference – by Marc Rowbury
On the 23rd of September, Usaj and I travelled up to Manchester by train to attend the Labour party conference which took place in the town hall of Albert Square. This ‘question time’ event held by Nacue was a chance for the 60 attendees, consisting of young entrepreneurs, students and educators, to ask labour officials, and company representatives about the future of student entrepreneurship. The panel included Santander’s Head of Education Chris Sharkey, political entrepreneur Lord Mitchell, Labour MP William Bane, Andrew Freeman of the Finance Foundation and Nacue’s CEO Johnny Luk. The talk was led by the business correspondent for the financial times, Jonathan Moules.
Representing Igniting Enterprise, we decided to ask a question which could tell us more about the problems Entrepreneurial Students of Plymouth, Igniting Enterprise and Small to Medium Sized Businesses across the South West faced, and if there is plans for change or resolution and help for the future.
We asked: With the strong and rapid growth of SME’s over recent years across Plymouth and the South West, what does Labour have planned to help stimulate and sustain this strong growth, and what do they have planned to help more students and young entrepreneurs get started not only in the South West but other remote places across Britain’
When speaking after the event on a personal level, we had a few responses;
Lord Mitchell said; ‘You need a suitable working environment and a strong Internet connection. You also have to be driven, because if you fail and don’t feel it in your soul to be able to get back up and try again, then this isn’t the right thing for you’
Chris Sharkey of Santander said; when dealing with business over my 30 years of experience, especially small ones, I have found that the best step for new ideas and new concepts which have little support, mentoring or funding, it is always good to go and speak to your local chamber of commerce if you have one. As well as a representative for the local area who should be able to provide you with a mentor. There are lots of ways to achieve funding right now for entrepreneurs and we are in a prime time of high interest in new and innovative business. For the midlands, I established a contact with a company called business links which helped new SME’s to get their feet off the ground and head in the right direction, what would be a good idea is to see if the South West has something similar to that.’
Manchester is a vibrant, cultural and historical town, with a lively business environment. It was fantastic to see not only the landmark town hall inside and out but also the surroundings and what Manchester has to offer, especially as close by the Labour conference was being held by Ed Miliband at the same time.
Johnny Luk the recently appointed new CEO of NACUE was very encouraging and excited not only for the future of entrepreneurship but also what future events NACUE has to offer Entrepreneur societies of the UK. He said to Usaj and me that it has been a very busy year for Nacue and one which has seen great growth, which he now wants to continue and to try and bridge the gap between the government and young entrepreneurs. We both agreed he touched upon a fundamental point because funding is widely becoming available in the UK now however entrepreneur societies need to be more recognised in the work and opportunities they provide. If we can bridge the gap then this only makes it easier and more attractable for people to start their own ventures. A recurring theme to the conference was that the more support from the government there is, the more benefits it will have in return to the economy through job creation.
Overall this was a very good networking experience and a perfect opportunity to hear first-hand, the efforts made by Nacue and what Labour plans to offer back to the future people of business as well as the future support intended for societies. It is one of Nacue’s smaller events but definitely one to re-visit next year to see the progression made.