Global Entrepreneurship Week: Rebalancing employment through entrepreneurship

Charlie Mullins
entrepreneur 300x225 Global Entrepreneurship Week: Rebalancing employment through entrepreneurship


Right now, if the economy was a patient, it would still be in intensive care. Showing positive signs, but still a sick puppy. It will take time to inject enough confidence into the market to ensure that growth is maintained and the economy is truly back on track. Coupled with this is the on-going downsizing of the public sector and the associated absorbing of jobs into the private sector.

By absorbing of jobs into the private sector, I’m talking about the majority of individuals leaving public employment to join small businesses like my own, the small businesses that settle their tax bills and contribute properly to the recovery. It’s a huge task and one not possible without massive entrepreneurial effort and yes, risk for the individuals that take it on.

Just like being a footballer is more risky for an enthusiast injury-wise, compared to watching your team from the safety of a sofa, being an entrepreneur carries with it far more risk than being a salaried employee. Of course the metaphor also works as far as potential rewards are concerned. Few have managed to become millionaires without risking their own money, except of course those pin-striped crooks in suits, our friends in banking! But enough about them. I’m talking about honest business ventures that create wealth rather than feeding off it. My point here is that, despite the potential to become hugely successful, being an entrepreneur has serious financial risks, and isn’t for everyone.

And it’s not just the personal risk side of things; as an employee of a company I don’t think you can ever feel a responsibility towards those you work with every day in quite the same way as a business owner, who knows that a bad decision can not only send him or her broke, but also land hundreds of others in the dole queue.

That aside there are also all manner of good points to being your own boss, which for me come down to being able to make my own decisions on my own destiny. To be able to ask for help and advice, but to not have to heed it should it not feel like the correct course of action.

Things are looking extremely promising for entrepreneurship in the UK with more than 300,00 new businesses being born in the last couple of years, and still they are starting up – with another 15,000 coming into being across the UK every month. Of course not all will thrive. But giving as many as possible a fighting chance has to be our goal, through the right support, whether we are politicians, bureaucrats or business people – and this is why I see Global Entrepreneurship Week as being so important.

I was at the British Library last night, doing a question and answer session alongside some very inspirational entrepreneurs like Orla Kiely, 19-year-old Sam Hargreaves and the British Library’s Entrepreneur in Residence, Stephen Fear. Something interesting that Stephen mentioned was that out of the businesses they work with, nine out of 10 are still going strong three years down the line. Of the other businesses launched in the UK as a whole, the inverse is true. This just goes to show the positive effect the right support can have on a business.

There is an awful lot of work for entrepreneurs right now. As if the task of transferring tens of thousands of jobs from public to private is not enough, there’s the small matter of the 2.5 million unemployed, a million of whom are under the age of 25.  So I hope people understand why I am convinced economic salvation lies with the growth of existing businesses through further innovation, and especially through the creation of new ones, with new ideas, hard work and the drive to succeed.

Charlie Mullins left school at 15 with no academic qualifications and embarked on a four-year plumbing apprenticeship which set the foundation for his success.  Once qualified he set up a plumbing firm in a basement of an estate agent in Pimlico. The firm was aptly named Pimlico Plumbers. Today, Pimlico Plumbers is the UK’s biggest independent plumbers

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  • Pacificweather

    Being an employee for an entrepreneur is a seriously risky business. Most such companies go bust leaving the employee unpaid and without an income. If the employer is honest he will pay his employees with his own money but few are. Some entrepreneurs are serial defrauders and the law has been constructed to give them as much latitude as possible to continue defrauding creditors, customers and employees whilst allowing them to stay out of prison.

    If you are in at the start and the company that is successful you could make your employer a very rich man or woman without ever receiving anything like the reward your efforts deserve. In better run companies like Microsoft, Intel, Apple (all American) many employees become millionaires or billionaires. How many Dyson employees does that apply to I wonder.

    Given the odds, especially in the UK, it is no wonder that the move from public to private sector jobs is unwelcome.

  • Guest

    Spot On Mr Mullins!

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