With Global Entrepreneurship Week celebrating its 10th anniversary this week, I am pleased to join 10 million people in 170 countries as they come together under the GEW banner to celebrate innovation, refine old ideas and create entirely new ones.
On Thursday I’ll be taking part myself as I speak on an exciting panel, convened by the IOD at the House of Commons.
Looking forward, I’m excited to share my thoughts on the entrepreneurial future of the UK economy and exchange ideas of my own on how we make the most of the many opportunities that lie ahead of us. Since that first GEW a decade ago we have experienced an unprecedented technological fusion permeating and disrupting all sectors of the economy, and the implications for the UK are truly vast.
One of the most profound shifts we have seen is the development of one collective entrepreneurship ecosystem, which is gradually replacing a series of isolated GEW campaigns around the world. Of particular interest to me is the relationship between the technologies facilitating the development of one unified entrepreneurship ecosystem, being driven by this confluence of changes is the power for real time growth of entrepreneurship communities that are able to operate and advocate collectively. These factors are closely aligned to the fusion of technologies leading what is now known as the Fourth Industrial revolution (4IR).
I’m leading the debate in Parliament on the 4IR and how it is characterized by a fusion of technologies, exponential growth in communication technologies and a blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres. These advances will disrupt almost every industry in every country, and pose profound economic, political, and societal challenges to countries that are unprepared or unresponsive to a rapidly changing world.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, further recognised the importance of these disruptive technologies during his 2016 Conservative Party Conference speech, placing the 4IR at the heart of Government policy and acknowledging that “there is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Britain to cement its role as a leader in tech innovation […] the fruit of British genius being harvested here in Britain as we move into a Fourth Industrial Revolution, creating jobs, wealth and success. Future-proofing the economy of post-Brexit Britain.” This followed the first ever House of Commons debate on the 4IR which took place in September 2016, attracting a high level of cross-party interest.
The UK must actively seize the opportunities presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) to drive future economic growth, pro-actively shaping and harnessing the technological and societal changes it heralds for the nation’s benefit. A representative, connected and effective entrepreneurship ecosystem is a key enabling component of the systems that drive our response to this multifaceted challenge and opportunity.
Taking all this into account, it is fitting that we will meet in the House of Commons to discuss these issues. We’ve been having these conversations in government for some time, as we look forward to the next ten years and take steps to build on the achievements of the UK enterprise community and secure our long term economic growth.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Fourth Industrial Revolution, of which I am the founding Chairman, provides a place that we can distill this thinking and put in place the structures to ensure that here in the UK we take this opportunity to make sure that the 4IR in Britain is comprised not simply of changes that happen to us, but changes that work for us.
The Institute of Directors invite you to join Alan Mak MP, Lord Billamoria, founder of Cobra Beer, Editor of City Am Christian May at the Houses of Parliament for a featured event of Global Entrepreneurship Week 2017 as we celebrate this decade of collaboration and turn our focus towards the next ten years.