Dan represents the UK at G20 Entrepreneurs’ Summit, Moscow

“The current economic crisis is a structural one. Emerging industries require that young people possess new knowledge and entrepreneurial skills.” Victor Sedov, President, Center for Entrepreneurship, a Founding Member of the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Alliance

In June I had the privilege of being part of the UK Delegation selected to attend the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Alliance (YEA) Summit in Moscow. The Summit brought together over 400 entrepreneurs representing 20 of the world’s most powerful economies, to discuss and solve many of the challenges currently facing small businesses.

The Summit took the form of a combination of panel discussions, breakout sessions and guest speakers. Ernst and Young presented their findings from their ‘Entrepreneurship Barometer’ and Accenture presented on ‘Innovation as a major factor of growth and employment’. Hearing first-hand how these two large corporations acknowledge the importance of entrepreneurship and are invested in developing it around the world was encouraging. In their findings Ernst and Young found that 73% of entrepreneurs surveyed believed access to funding was a major barrier to growth- A fact that I know too well myself and the same frustration that led to the creation of rebuildingsociety.com .

One of the most constructive and stimulating parts of the summit came in the form of the five different breakout sessions, led by individual entrepreneurs. Each shared their experiences of the difficulties they faced and how they managed to overcome these. The sessions were broken down into Access to finance, Educational programs and other factors that support young entrepreneurs, IT and green growth innovation, Social business and social enterprise and Going global.

I sat on the Access to Funding Breakout panel along with five other entrepreneurs who had all found it difficult to get access to funding but had made it their business to make it easier for others. Hearing how Sebastien, founder of Blue Chilli, developed an innovative platform to help tech start-ups get off the ground in Australia and about how Scot Walton literally travelled around the world in search of VC funding to start Enovex, were particularly motivating.

It was very interesting talking to the hosting Russian delegation about their experiences of entrepreneurship and enterprise in Russia. It astounded me to find that whilst Russia is recognised globally as somewhat of a superpower, many untapped avenues of business and development that are common place in the West still remain undeveloped. Many of the young Russian delegates at the summit were aggressively pursuing these opportunities whilst developing their vision for the future of Russian Entrepreneurship.

It’s often recited that Britain is a ‘Nation of Shopkeepers’, whilst Napoleon meant this as an insult, I’d argue that given that SMEs account for 99.9% of all private sector businesses in the UK, he was just stating a fact. SMEs have a major part to play in reviving our economy. The UK delegation and I recognise this and are prepared to help businesses achieve the growth they aim for- something I believe that every lender and borrower of rebuildingsociety.com shares.

Whilst the Summit ended with the signing of the Official Communique which is to be presented to the leaders of the G20 countries, I left with a stack of business cards, new opportunities and an energy that will play a major role in further developing our platform.

The UK Delegation

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