As a nation we are facing and will continue to face major reductions of government spending in all areas. The need to focus on deficit reduction is extremely important, as is short and medium term economic growth. However, with so much focus, energy and drive on the immediate, have we taken our eyes off the long term future? Are we really doing the right things now that are putting the systems and processes in place to build a strong foundation for our future economy?
The next 50+ years for the UK cannot be decided overnight, it cannot be looked at in one budget, and the future cannot be made in the duration of a parliamentary term. The future needs to be thought of in terms of a generation. For the UK’s future we need to be thinking a generation ahead, we need to be thinking of a minimum of 15 years from now.
So what will this future be?
If you have studied economics then you will have heard of the term economic catalyst, which is often used to describe entrepreneurs or companies who precipitate a fundamental change in business or technology. However, what about the term ‘a catalyst economy’? It may not be a new term, however, if it is, then I coin it to described my view on what I feel the UK’s economy of the future could and should be.
There is a lot of talk about the future of the UK and in which direction our economy will go. High growth, high tech, green tech, small business, entrepreneurs, financial services, value added, IP driven…all of these terms and more are being thrown around on a daily basis and have become buzz words for parliamentarians. But, we can actually be all of these things. If you think about it, they actually all tie together. They can support each other and grow together in a symbiotic relationship. All of them can help catalyse each other. They can stimulate growth, development, funding and support between themselves.
So, a catalyst economy is simple one, it is one that is full of new ideas, businesses that are global leaders in their fields, industries and sectors that work and cooperate together and in this type of environment the UK can again take its place as a truly global leading economy.
During our history, British inventions have helped change and shape nearly all aspects of modern day life. We are a nation of inventors, innovators and entrepreneurs. In the past there has been a common drive, a joined up purpose to explore and answer some of the greatest challenges put before mankind. The challenges the global community faces now are equally great, be they energy, transport or technology related, the UK can rise to these challenges and we can once again lead the world.
This can’t happen quickly; we need skills for businesses, we need the support systems in place to nurture and grow our home grown high tech and green tech industries, rather than them being bought up by foreign companies. We need a mentality shift; the days of the big employers and mass manufacturing are slowly coming to a close.
I believe the UK’s future lies in high growth, high skilled businesses, developing new ideas that can be exported globally and ones which make a positive impact on the world in which we live. This will be driven by businesses which are starting up now, ideas which have yet to be thought of and business leaders who are still in primary education.
To achieve a catalyst economy we must inspire our youth now, support our start ups in the present, embrace risk-taking as a nation and above all else, we must understand that planning for the real future starts today and should not be left until tomorrow.