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January 26, 2011 10:59 pm
Enterprise UK, the body created by the country’s business groups to promote a more entrepreneurial society, is to shut its doors due to lack of funds.
The agency’s future had been uncertain since December when the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills withdrew its funding – amounting to 80 per cent of Enterprise UK’s annual budget – as part of the spending cuts.
Tom Bewick, Enterprise UK’s chief executive, said: “Even if we had found a way to fund a much smaller legacy organisation, we would have been unable to ensure that we would not have found ourselves in the same position next year.”
The business department is expected to find the money to ensure some of the body’s more successful initiatives live on. These include Global Entrepreneurship Week, a celebration of start-up activity backed by more than 100 countries.
Another survivor is likely to be “Make Your Mark With a Tenner”, a competition for young people to raise as much money as they can from an initial investment of just £10. This year’s event will still go ahead next month with 40,000 students involved, up from 24,000 last year.
Enterprise UK was formed six years ago through a rare partnership between the country’s main business groups: the Institute of Directors, the British Chambers of Commerce, the CBI employers’ body and the Federation of Small Businesses.
Sir Richard Lambert, outgoing CBI director-general, who was among those who voted on Enterprise UK’s fate, this week criticised the government for failing to do enough to help entrepreneurial growth.
Oli Barrett, an entrepreneur who devised Make Your Mark, regretted Enterprise UK’s demise but said its role could be filled by entrepreneur clubs. “Enterprise UK was able to gain insights into young people’s attitudes and shape them into practical initiatives,” he said. “The challenge now is how do we rebuild those connections.”
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