“A Nation of Shopkeepers” is how Britain was once described by Napoleon in a remark intended to be disparaging and showing Britain was unfit for war against France. The other side of the coin is a nation of entrepreneurs maybe with people willing to gamble on small scale ventures in the hope of making millions. It is the entrepreneurs who create jobs and help drive the economy. However in recent times creating a low carbon economy has become ever more important and business are looking for government to take a lead with tax breaks and incentives.
The UK has signed up to stretching carbon reduction targets by 2020 and this will only be achieved by businesses adopting ‘green’ practices and creating confidence in the market. The recent ‘about turn’ from the UK government in relation to subsidies for solar power indicates confusion at the top as to how we achieve this and what level of investment can be expected from the taxpayer.
Coupled with this is the apparent unwillingness for the banks to lend to small businesses and adopting a perceived inflexible stance to SMEs in trouble. The banks having been bailed out by the UK taxpayer are still taking a purely balance sheet led approach to lending decisions when they could be looking at the broader social and environmental impact that the SMEs could make. Other investors who are willing to take the risks and view business with a more altruistic approach can make a huge difference.
Green’ entrepreneurs being faced with limited investment have a job to do in convincing the banks and investors of the value of their business approach and the sustainability of those businesses and investors should be reaching out to those businesses to provide them not only with capital but support advice and expertise.
Attributed to James Barnett Managing Editor of Oceanic Business