Recently, I had the opportunity to give a keynote at Ariadne Capital’s ‘Follow the Entrepreneur’ Investor Summit in Hampshire, U.K.. My talk was entitled, ‘The Future of Entrepreneurship in Big Business’ and after attending the summit, I’m very much convinced that the U.K. will play a massive role in that future. Let’s look at the facts – according to the Federation of Small Businesses there were an estimated 4.8 million businesses in the UK employing 23.9 million people in 2012 (for comparison, that is about three million more than the combined populations of Switzerland, Austria, and Ireland). And we are seeing consistent growth – in the past year, an encouraging 205,305 new businesses launched (Startup Britain).
Two of the biggest contributors to the success of British business owners, in my opinion, are their passion for what they do, and their hungry to grow and better the entrepreneurial community. For instance, during every break that followed my morning speech, I had a revolving door of small business owners eager to tell me about their businesses. The best part was that they were not just asking for advice, but they were also asking about how they could work with Dell to help expand EIR initiatives in their regions.
There are two types of entrepreneurs in my experience: those concerned solely with their own growth, and those who are seeking to pay it forward and enable others around them. It was truly uplifting to note from my conversations with businesses owners at the event, that ‘Follow The Entrepreneur’ was packed with the latter, an approach to business which Dell itself is very much committed to taking. Packed with 40 speakers and more than 150 attendees, the event enabled me to meet other entrepreneurs and business leaders who are just as convinced as I am, that entrepreneurship is key to transforming the future of business.
Taking some time at the event to speak with Ross Wesgate, host of CNBC, we discussed the ways in which Dell is enabling entrepreneurs to grow and what that means for the economy. It’s no secret that Dell has always been in touch with the entrepreneurial spirit, but now, more than ever, Dell is taking risks and investing in, not only early-stage startups, but the entrepreneurial community at large by offering business owners access to, and insight into technology, capital, expertise and networks.
I’m so grateful that Dell has given me the unique opportunity to impact small businesses globally through my position as Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR). We're beginning to lay the groundwork and exploring what initiatives make the most sense for the entrepreneur community in the UK. We'll be working closely with local entrepreneurs and small businesses to make sure that any programmes launched meet the specific needs of this high-growth market.
And Dell is already demonstrating its value as a strategic partner to businesses from the outset. Take Fiona Page, for example. Fiona started her entrepreneurial journey in 2004 with the launch of her financial consulting business, PensionsFirst Group, in the U.K. and was immediately labeled a ‘cutting edge’ startup by many in the industry. The rapid growth of her company created issues when it came time to scale and offer more to her clients in terms of measuring and managing risk. In order to meet her clients’ expectations, she essentially needed to develop an enterprise-level platform from the ground-up. Unsure of how to proceed, members of Fiona’s team met with experts, from the Dell Global Infrastructure Consulting team, on storage, servers, virtualization and networks, and eventually created a solution that not only helped PensionsFirst Group meet their targets, but exceed them.
By helping businesses like Fiona’s scale through technology, Dell is not only helping them succeed, but is positioning itself as the number one end-to-end technology solutions provider for small businesses worldwide. If the summit made one thing clear, it’s that entrepreneurship has the potential to be a big change-maker in the U.K. and I am proud to help Dell support their future small business success story.