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My visit to Downing Street: ‘51% of business owners believe innovation is going too fast.’ 

Last week was super exciting because I got to go to Downing Street as part of Enterprise Nation’s monthly visits to Downing Street to meet the prime minister’s business adviser, Jimmy McLoughlin, and share our thoughts and advice on the UK’s enterprise environment. 

It immediately became clear how much the modern world we live in now – the world I bang on about all the time – was very much on Jimmy McLouglin’s mind (is it a bit over familiar if I just refer to him as Jimmy from herein?).

We’d only just sat down when Jimmy stated that:

51% of business owners believe innovation is going too fast.’ 

And went on to ask what could they do in the face of all this innovation to help this and the next generation of entrepreneurs and all of those wanting to start a business. 

Ahem. Now this sort of chitchat is right up my street! And it seemed as though everyone in the room was singing from the same hymn sheet.

Most of the conversation/ideas from everyone there was about skill training, and I talked from my first hand experience of delivering training events for Facebook. 

Whenever I go into a room for Facebook, my first question is always ‘Who here is happy with the way Facebook is working out for their business’ and ‘Who here is confident they have their Facebook advertising totally nailed.’

And I half expect a sea of hands to go up. But usually there is noone who can answer yes to either question.

You see, Facebook and the other tech platforms, Google, Amazon, Instagram, Snapchats are just one of the many ways in which the world is evolving very fast. And it’s next to impossible for most people to keep up.

When I walk talking to Jimmy (omg we are literally old mates now….) I discussed how Facebook is committed to training 10,000 female business owners per year though the programme I’m a trainer for, and how Google trains 60,000 per year through its Digital Garage. But is that enough? 

The number of small businesses in the UK has hit a record high of 5.5m, increasing by 23% since 2010, government data revealed last year.

If, I asked, you are a huge innovator and change the world in the way these digital giants have, then wouldn’t it be a good idea to help train many many MANY more people in how to use your innovation for their own success?  We discussed how retraining through this change may be down to the private sector with government purely playing the role of facilitator and enabler. 

The end of jobs was also a discussion point, with Jimmy saying the government is focusing on helping people build creative skills so that their roles can’t be automated and they can future proof their careers. This year, the creative industries were at the heart of the government’s 5 industrial pillars.

To me this is brilliant and just another sign how the world is changing. Maybe this was to do with my parents, but my education and focus growing was always just about results and academia. I don’t think it was seen as important during the 80s to be creative. 

As Jimmy said

‘Jobs will be automated but you can never automate creativity.’

On the way out, it was spot-a-politician time with Michael Gove going out the front door, Margot James coming in and (EXCITED FACE) Larry the cat asleep by the front door! 

In other good news this week, we are just over the half way mark of Facebook’s She Means Business campaign, in which I’m one of 8 brand ambassadors and accredited trainers with the goal of training 10,000 female founders in 2017.

And….drum roll.

We’ve already trained a massive 8871 founders so far, which means we’ll have smashed through the target by the time the year is out! 

I’ll be hosting another FB ads webinar soon. Keep a look out for the date in your inbox. 

 

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Sounds like an awesome day and it’s great to hear the government is focusing on entrepreneurship and training small businesses. Too often it seems like there are a lot of initiatives but nothing that really focuses on the things that move the needle for the individual owners. Social media is such a powerful part of that, along with creativity but unfortunately too many people see it as scary and mysterious and too difficult to wrap their heads around. But there are a thousand different ways to go about using social media to meet different business ends.

    Great work on the training so far. That stated goal is history!

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