Business leaders meeting in London today said that the current recession is a great time for startups, and that entrepreneurs have a good opportunity to kick-start the UK economy.
Industry representatives at an event at the Institute of Directors explained that entrepreneurs will still have difficulty securing funding, but that they are in a better position to thrive than companies created in prosperous economic times.
"2009 is going to be a turbulent year, but it will provide an opportunity for entrepreneurs to come forward and help take the UK out of recession and into the next period of economic growth," said Ed Wray, chairman of online betting company Betfair.
Glen Manchester, founder of enterprise communications software firm Thunderhead, said that he had formed his company in a recession after the dot-com bust in 2001, and had funded it entirely with money from the sale of his first company, Geneva Digital, rather than relying on traditional venture capital backing.
"We used the three-year vacuum to develop the product when other companies were not likely to be investing so much, and then we pounced," he said.
Wray was also unable to secure venture capital in the previous downturn, but went on to achieve great success after doing a "family and friends round-up". However, he warned that those launching a company should expect to wait longer for returns than in the past.
"You have to invest for the long term, say five to seven years, rather than expecting a return after only 18 months, but this is great for entrepreneurialism," he said, adding that the government should do more to encourage innovation.
"We need to make the environment positive for entrepreneurs," he said. " After a look through the business plans I received, I think we should be encouraging a lot more people."
Roman Stanek, founder of business intelligence firm Good Data, agreed that technology entrepreneurs in particular are among the best positioned to deliver the fastest growth.
"The beauty of technology, and particularly online businesses, is that the customer base is global," he explained.
"Launching a web-based business right now presents a far more exciting opportunity than opening a small business in a particular geography where the catchment area is limited."
IBM and Technical University of Munich team demonstrate how Shor's algorithm, which can't be cracked by conventional computers, can be solved quickly with quantum computing
Hubble Space Telescope finds superflares from young red dwarfs could strip away planetary atmosphere
Younger stars are 100 to 1,000 times more energetic than when they're older
Two of the big four supermarkets will use the system to control sales of restricted products
PUBG news and updates: November's Update #23 to bring new Skorpion pistol and changes to blue zone visibility
Genuinely useful side-arm coming to PUBG in Update #23