Top of the Policies on how a Labour Labour Government should support start ups, entrepreneurs and small businesses, Chaired by Chuka Umunna MP, 11 June, London

The right pitch: How should a Labour Government support start ups, entrepreneurs and small businesses?


Top Policy:

  •  Open data for fuelling ideas, innovation and growth – Dan Fox. Dan’s article for  can be read here.

Joint No. 2 Policy: 

  • All Together – social enterprise tackling underlying issues of youth unemployment – James Frith
  • “1+1” UK Youth Global Enterprise Strategy – Dr. Christina Yan Zhang 

Joint No. 3 Policy:

  • Public accountability, charges & legislation to cut late payments to small businesses – Cllr Stephen Cowan
  • Entrepreneurs with mental illness – Dr Emma Lindley (see blog about her idea here)

Entrepreneurs event winners 110613

The prize-winners with Chuku Umunna MP (from left: James Frith, Dr Christina Yan Zhang, Chuka Umunna MP, Dan Fox)


What? PragRad’s Top of the Policies (TOTP) event on ideas and policies to support and grow the numbers of start-ups and small businesses and encourage entrepreneurialism across the country.


Your chance to pitch a policy idea on the above theme  in 90 seconds. [You don’t have to pitch an idea and can just be part of the audience, but if you’d like to, see details below].

  • Up to 90 SECONDS PER SPEAKER TO PRESENT A POLICY IDEA (up to 20 speakers)

This event is being held in association with NG: Next Generation – ‘s Entrepreneurs Network.

When? 7.00pm – 9.00pm, (FOOD SERVED FROM 6.30pm),Tuesday 11 June, 2013 

Where? Barley Mow pub (upstairs room), Horseferry Road, Westminster, London, SW1P 2EE (map here)

Chaired by? Chuka Umunna MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills


REFRESHMENTS inculding a free bar and light buffet (served from 6.30pm), kindly sponsored by

BVCA30_Version2_RGB.png  (British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association)



On the Evolution of an Eco-System (by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Startups in the Struggle for Life): Fostering a startup ecosystem is the first step in a long process and has already been achieved in part in virtue of the TechCity/Silicon Roundabout scheme in London and through localised incentives and resources for high tech businesses elsewhere in the UK (Edinburgh, Reading and Bristol coming to mind immediately). The next step is to improve the quality of those startups, which I think is best done by creating a more collaborative environment (so that they can learn from one another or cross polinate), encouraging a culture of rapid iteration (‘if you’re going to fail, fail fast) and making accessible experience and expertise through 1-on-1 or max 1-to-3 mentorship programmes with successful entrepreneurs – and not uninspiring ‘business advisers’ – who can help the promising startups break through. These three mechanisms collectively (a) foster variation, (b) facilitate selection and (c) optimise outcomes. Nader Alaghband – Founder and CEO of Apppli, an award winning, startup focused mobile strategy and development company

A Mutual New Deal: A reduction in red tape and the regulatory burden for all co-operatives, mutuals and other democratic or employee-owned business models, tax cuts for new mutual start-ups and spin-outs and financial incentives for users of credit unions, financial co-operatives (such as building societies and ‘ethical banks’) funded by a small proportion of the mutualisation of government’s stakes in Lloyds. Renie Anjeh – London Young Labour member // @renieanjeh 

Unleashing the entrepreneurial potential of responsible capitalism: Despite the current enthusiasm for social investment, Big Society Capital is sitting on money that it can’t invest. Innovative start-up social ventures are having huge social impact, but they can’t access the capital they need to grow, being seen as too early stage and too risky. It’s time to allocate more of Big Society Capital’s capital to early stage start up social ventures that have the potential to change society and kickstart the economy. Jess Cordingley – Ventures Outreach Manager, UnLtd // @JessCordingly @UnLtd

Public accountability, charges and legislation to cut late payments to small businesses: Small businesses wait an average of 41 days longer than their agreed payment terms. Large firms and government should be legally required to add an automatic daily interest fee paid direct to the business if they pay later than 30 days. To police this there should be a requirement for actual payment terms to be published in annual accounts with invoice totals and actual payment times and sums listed for shareholders and the authorities to view. Stephen Cowan, self-employed business person, local councillor and London Region Champion for the Labour Councillors Business Network // @StephenCowan

Driving Private Sector Investment in Start-ups to support Economic Growth: Start-ups need funding and business advice. Bigger companies can provide them with both, but there is no scheme to encourage them to invest in start-ups, as there is for individual investors to do so. We propose that companies get tax relief when they invest in start-ups, with the tax relief clawed back when the shares are sold at a profit – so the government gets its money back and start-ups get the resources to grow. Simon Devonshire – Director, Wayra Europe, Telefónica (includes Wayra London Academy – a tech startup incubator)  // @simondevonshire @WayraUK

Open data for fuelling ideas, innovation and growth: ‘Big Data’ has been referred to as the new oil and the new soil. While some of the most useful information to entrepreneurs is generated by government, Whitehall is where it unfortunately stays. We need an Open Data Programme to move unmanageable and previously inaccessible data into the public domain, and ‘Big Data’ Development Loans for SMEs to help them exploit it. Dan Fox – intelligence analyst and trainer, a blogger on Big Data, and a member of Walthamstow CLP // @campaigner

Tax Breaks for Employee Owned Businesses: Tax Breaks for Employee Owned businesses: Research has shown that Employee Owned businesses, such as the John Lewis Partnership do significantly better than their counterparts. Therefore, I’d like to propose that Labour offer tax breaks for such companies, encouraging them to flourish and prosper. Philip Freeman – u19s officer for London Young Labour // @pbffreeman

High Growth Apprenticeship Body: A body of sector specific social enterprises (creative and tech industries as they are highest growth) who hold apprentices on a retainer basis with high skills or ability to provide on a needs only basis to creative and new start up companies. Agile expertise in the early stages of setting up in these sectors means access to cost effective talent that provides apprentices (Level 3 and above) to small outfits that are growing, or expected to do so, is a brilliant model of support. It provides a mix of experiences for the apprentices also and a run of employment (not a job, importantly) and experiences with actual Min/Living Wage paid between contract cost and government subsidy. James Frith – Chief Executive,  All Together – social enterprise tackling underlying issues of youth unemployment // @jimmyfrith

Entrepreneurs with mental illness: A radical solution to an employment and welfare challenge? People with chronic mental illness, which is often intermittent, and only prevents them from being able to work some of the time, are faced with increasingly stark choices: fight to remain a ‘career’ mental patient and live on benefits, or give that up and take the risk of going into a cycle of attempting employment with the real danger than an episode of illness may leave them out of work. Many entrepreneurs state that the reasons they become entrepreneurs include more flexibility and autonomy to work in ways that are preferable to mainstream employment. Counter-intuitive as it may seem, I propose a model of ‘supported entrepreneurship’ that might offer some people with mental health conditions an alternative way of being economically independent whilst being able to protect their health and well-being. Dr Emma Lindley – Senior Researcher, Social Brain, The RSA // @dremmalindley

Financing Growth: How can we ensure that startups, entrepreneurs and small businesses can grow, creating the jobs, wealth and skills our economy needs. Alex Mitchell – UK President of the G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance and Director, Young Brits Network // @AlexDMitchell

Incentivise entrepreneurial teams over solo founders: From the media, to Government support schemes, the idea of the ‘lone wolf’ still underpins society’s understanding of entrepreneurship – despite single founder companies being less successful, less motivated and more likely to fail. By changing how people view start-ups, and how they are supported, the Government can support more people in being entrepreneurs, and fewer in failing. Jonathan Oldershaw, Researcher and Co-founder of // @jon_oldershaw

Entrepreneurship for everyone – no brain wasted: Labour should make entrepreneurship a more viable option for NEETs by giving them the vital skills to make a start up business successful. There should also be the opportunity for small businesses and startups to offer work to unemployed people with the salary subsidized for the first year by the same amount as JSA. This would allow employers to take on people with less risk and lower the barriers to work for unemployed people. Fidel Shelly – Founder, Social Innovator at Tech Talent Group // @TechTalentGroup 

Focus on the pain/pressure points for small business: Labour needs to show itself to be relevant to small and medium businesses, and desperately needs to appeal to us with ideas that would help small businesses grow (and hire more people). Why don’t we start with simplifying the tax system, focusing on NI/PAYE. So the first step is simplicity – all this uncertain and complex legislation must be swept aside. Jag Singh – serial entrepreneur (MessageSpace, Labourhome, others), angel investor, former US presidential campaign advisor //  website  // @jagsingh

Start-Up UK: A ‘Policy of Truth’: Labour have the opportunity to engage the thought leaders & big names of start up Britain – Listen to them and then make the stuff happen that genuinely enables the whole sector to mobilise. The coalition are doing opposite – appearing to listen, making the right promises but then delivering nothing. Resulting in the worst relationship any start up wants – one that deflates them & wastes their valuable time. Chris Ward – Author of ‘Out of Office’; Founder of Blue Dot Agency // @chrisatcoffice

More support for CICs: A Labour goverment should look at a range of support for Community Interest Companies (CICs): grants to help with set-up costs for new CICs and tax breaks to help them to thrive. This will help to get socially beneficial companies off the ground. Mike Wheeler – Director, South West Transport Development CIC // @SWtransportdev // @MikeWheeler1

It’s time for UK large companies to play fair on payments: Britain’s five million small businesses are waiting, on average, more than eight working weeks to be paid by larger corporates, have outstanding invoices totalling £30.2 billion and, on average, are waiting for £31,000 in overdue payments. The UK’s five million small businesses are responsible for half of the UK’s GDP and 99% of private sector employment. It’s time for larger companies to stop paying lip service to the small business sector and actually get behind it in its efforts to help stimulate growth in the economy. And that means playing fair on payment. Marlon Wolff – Co-Founder, Ingenious Britain // @ingeniousbrit

“1+1” UK Youth Global Enterprise Strategy: A global enterprise strategy to help UK youth to directly engage in entrepreneurial activities in emerging markets (BRICS countries, ASEAN, Africa and Latin America) through a combination of measures, such as trainings to develop products and services targeting the emerging markets, link them with emerging market investors/entrepreneurs at home or overseas for joint venture, assist the enterprise activities of UK universities and colleges in emerging markets through transnational education provisions(joint degree, overseas campus, distant learning). The aim for this strategy is to cultivate highly skilled UK labour force for UK industry to compete globally, to prepare young people in the UK to become successful global entrepreneurs, to establish a grass roots network to link SME/Start-ups between the UK and emerging markets for more collaborations, and to promote global trade and investment between the UK and the rest of the world, therefore support the long-term economic prosperity of the UK. Dr. Christina Yan Zhang – International Students Officer 2010-2012, National Union of Students // @ChristinaYZhang


Start-up Sales Academy – Matt Smith

The Culture of Enterprise – Amma Mensah 




To  have the chance to present your 90 second policy idea on the on the night, please send it in the following format to As an audience member you still get to question each speaker in our quick-fire Q&A.

– Headline

– Explanation (3 sentences max)

– How you wish to be referred to on the night  (i.e. job title, organisation)

– Twitter ID (if applicable)


Photo of seedling by _sjg_ via Flickr

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