FRESH FRIDAYS: The Land of The Startup
Just like those in our network, the Freshminds team have an insatiable curiosity – we’re passionate about learning and staying ahead of the game. To encourage this culture, every Friday at Freshminds, a different member of our team takes the stage and talks us through a current, insightful, useful or exciting topic of their choice. We love our Fresh Friday talks and thought it was about time we shared the insights with the wider world! So here’s our first Fresh Fridays post...
The Land of The Startup
An emerging optimism in the startup sector has led to an enterprise explosion in Britain. Although not quite up in the big leagues with the Silicon Valley, London's tech scene is on the rise, and its highly developed tech cluster is attracting plenty of attention, investment and talent.
Following a year in which new business numbers swelled by more than half a million, London’s tech scene is booming. The vast numbers of companies founded each year is testament to this, with 44906 registered in April alone.
This is great news for the UK's economic recovery, and rising out of the recession, Britain has styled itself as 'the land of the startup'. The government are backing this movement, George Osborne has increased startup funding, as well as putting a cap on business rates, and the Startup Loans scheme has committed more than £62 million to over 12,000 new businesses. UK Universities are also showing their support, with many running their own startup competitions to encourage the next generation of entrepreneurs. UCL has been working with Seedcamp, Cambridge has partnered up with Springboard, Imperial has created the Imperial Incubator, and many other universities involve alumni with development projects.
Are tech stars the new rock stars?
In the eyes of the Evening Standard, 'tech stars are the new rock stars'. Tech entrepreneurs are cropping up all over the press, a face you might recognise is that of Michael Acton Smith, founder of Mind Candy, who has been described by The Daily Telegraph as 'a rock star version of Willy Wonka' and by The Independent as 'a polite version of Bob Geldof'. Michael has also been awarded a slightly different accolade, an OBE in the New Years honours list, for his services to the creative industries. This is a sure sign of just how much people are standing up and paying attention to entrepreneurs!
But it's not an easy journey to startup success...
The road to investment can be tough and littered with obstacles, and even when funding has been secured, startups still face the struggle of making it big as the leader of their field. Lots of companies are working on similar ideas, but only one will win the lion's share of the marketplace. If you think that there's only one eBay, one Amazon and one PayPal, you get the idea.
Am I cut out for a startup?
Because startups face a lot of competition, it's all the more important to have the right team. But hiring for a startup can be very difficult, unless it's for big roles, as they look for different attributes in their staff than more established firms. Alex, co-founder of rapidly expanding startup carwow, shares that they look for new hires who are ‘driven, proactive, enthusiastic, efficient and tech-savvy’, as in order for the company to grow it is crucial that all of the team possess ‘the ability and desire to learn as they go along and to question why we’re doing things and how we could do things better.’
In a small team, people need to make even more of an impact and their passion must shine through. They need to be big-thinkers full of ideas, as in its early stages a company is constantly changing and evolving. In fact, a lot these skills are very similar to those found in the Freshminds consulting skillset, for instance strong communication and problem solving skills are necessary and need to be delivered with personal impact. The opportunities afforded in startups can be incredibly exciting, meaning you have real potential to make your mark on a business right at its beginning.
If you would be interested in finding out more about whether working for a startup is for you, or if you would like to give your company an injection of Freshminds spark, give us a call or drop us an email!
Coming next week... look out for our guest blog from carwow, a startup online marketplace for brand new cars, who will be sharing their top tips for hiring talent for startups!