This week saw the launch of the UK government backed StartUp Britain, ‘a new campaign by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs’ which aims to ‘celebrate, inspire and accelerate enterprise in the UK’. Obviously my ears pricked up and I went for a nosey round the website. First impressions and the website looks good – clean and easy to navigate – although I can do without seeing David’s Cameron’s face every time I go on the site thank you very much.
My initial impressions: unfortunately, I didn’t find anything there that I didn’t know already, and pretty much all of the links I clicked on took me away from the site and to the websites of associated companies offering various deals and discounts to those starting up their own business. This was not what I was expecting. Deals and discounts I don’t actually want or need right now. Although some of the links may be useful at some point in the future (e.g. events, awards), the website states that ‘your questions about starting up, answered right here’. They aren’t – they are answered elsewhere on already existing websites such as BusinessLink for example. It left me with wondering what’s the point in this site? What is it? And how will it help me? Particularly as the website has little content (or none of its own) and some sections provide links to very little. For example, the section on knowing your market gives links to five different online survey tools and nothing else….so is all I need to do is an online survey and that’s that?
Anyhow, I started following the hashtag on twitter #startupbritain to find out a bit more, and it seems that the majority of the tweets were not very complimentary (that’s putting it politely!). This lead me to a few blog posts reviewing StartUp Britain – this one on Postdesk ‘Why #startupbritain is nothing more than a government backed link farm’ clarified for me why those with a good word to say about Startup Britain are in the minority. This one from Tech Europe ‘StartUp Britain Is About More Than Web Design and Special Offers‘ clarified the wider picture; the wider aim to create a spirit of entrepreneurialism and boost to the economy. Startup Britain – A step in the right direction then.
I’m not a business expert by any means but it looks as though Startup Britain potentially launched too soon and too loudly. The website isn’t ready – there’s no where near enough content and relevant information to meet the (great) expectations of those visiting the site, and whoever is editing the website seems to be having trouble spelling entrepreneur! I would also hazard a guess that tieing themselves so closely to the current government has not been their best strategic move and has resulted in more criticism than deserved. Such close association blurs the boundaries and makes the who, what, and why of Startup Britain very confusing.
Initially I was under the impression that Startup Britain was a government initiative due to David Cameron being all over the launch campaign. Only a closer look at the website and their tweets reveals that it isn’t and it’s a not-for-profit organisation. Therefore surely we should give Startup Britain a chance to ‘start up’. A first port of call website of useful resources can only be a good thing right? Although as they are a startup, I’d be interested to know how useful all the links have been for them throughout the process!
Startup Britain tweeted yesterday evening (29th March 2011) “Sorry we’ve been quiet today -we’ve taken on board the comments/feedback & will be sharing our thoughts on next steps soon #startupbritain‘ and that’s exactly what they should do. Someone told me recently there are two rules of business – 1. give the customer what they want and 2. give the customer what they want. I don’t need links to a load of sites (a few will do), I need ‘proper’ help from ‘proper’ business people. After all, a good few of the big names and faces of British entrepreneurship are on board – perhaps Startup Britain should make better use of them?
I’d be really interested to hear others thoughts on Startup Britain, and what startup’s need.
P.S. The tide seems to be changing a little today. More positive comments are coming through on my twitter feed! Also companies offering deals and discounts for a range of different services – as long as they are useful and relevant resources, that’s the spirit!