The ebusiness team at Fox Williams recently participated in Ariadne Capital’s latest Entrepreneur Country event. This was a fantastic one-day tech-focused conference which celebrated the spirit of entrepreneurship in the UK. A succession of keynote speakers, including Sir Paul Judge (chairman of Schroder Income Growth Trust), Gerry Ford (founder and CEO of Caffé Nero) and Ed Wray (co-founder and chairman of Betfair) banged the drum for entrepreneurs and reiterated their importance to the UK economy, particularly in the current climate. Here are some key points distilled from the speeches which we wanted to share with you:

• Risk is a necessary part of enterprise; without risk the world will not continue to develop.

• Although the current global recession is likely to be painful, the flipside is that it may offer great opportunities for new ventures. It is likely that some future household names will start up during the recession and that some existing household names will not survive it.

• Smaller businesses, with their streamlined decision-making processes, can find it easier to survive than very large ones which cannot bring about change quickly enough.

• It is likely that we will see a change in business culture away from the short-termism which has characterised the last few years towards a move to build a more long-term, sustainable culture.

• Those businesses which learn the ropes during the tough times of a recession will be in a good position to take advantage when the economy picks up again.

• Equally, investing in new ideas during a recession can also leave you well-placed when the economy turns; the chances are that your competitors will have been cutting investment in that period.

• Companies will be forced to adapt even further towards the new online environment.

• Technology companies are well-placed to succeed. Technology can level the playing-field between big and small companies. Even small companies which embrace technology can achieve great success.

• For those contemplating new ventures, it is vitally important to get the product offering right first time.

• If you have competitors out there, aim to ensure that your product offering is at least 50 per cent. better than theirs.

• Don’t obsess about early-stage valuations; it is more important to obtain the capital which you need. The valuation to worry about is the exit valuation.

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