Over at Lib Dem Voice, Alain Desmier set out the case for why the Lib Dems are the party of the entrepreneur with a social conscience. He writes:
If you asked a Lib Dem about why they joined our party, I think many of the following reasons for joining, would be on their list:
- I deliberately choose a smaller organisation
- I choose to engage in an environment where I could be heard, not drowned out
- I am able to make do with a few resources against competitors with plenty
- I want to work with the best and most committed, not the richest or loudest
- I work to change things, to remake better services for everyone
- I work harder, faster and more effectively than my opponents because I want to win
- I believe in a joined up global world without borders
Do you recognise these qualities in your Lib Dem colleagues, friends and activists? In our party, politicians and conferences?
I firmly do, but they were professional qualities before I even thought about joining the party.
I don’t remember exactly the moment I decided to work for myself, but from University onwards, I never really got used to the idea of having a boss. One day I struck out, left my job and did something different for a few months. Consultancy turned into an idea that turned into a business. That failed so I tried again. For the past eight years, I’ve worked for startups in California and London and I now run my own financial technology startup in Bristol. I am fine with risk, if I don’t work, I don’t earn and for me that focuses the mind on those gloomy Mondays.
I believe that the natural home of the technology entrepreneur is with the Lib Dems and yet so many of my professional peers are reluctant Conservatives or Republicans. They don’t feel at home in parties that hold social conservative views but they hold their nose, knowing that their businesses, livelihoods and dreams rely partly on a political party that can be trusted with the economy.
Our party’s values of tolerance, opportunity and doing things differently are the values of so many tech entrepreneurs in the UK and yet I can name only a handful that are Lib Dems.
I was horrified to read commentary in the run up to Nick Clegg’s conference speech that said he was planning to reduce entrepreneur’s relief. The payout, the sale, the exit at the end of the rainbow is what drives me and the majority of my peers.
It doesn’t matter that most of us won’t ever make that seven figure exit in the end, the belief that we might, makes the 18 hour days, the risk and the sacrifices, worthwhile. And when/if we get there, our reward for creating jobs and growth in the economy will be a one off tax reward that allows us to keep more of the money we’ve earned.
If there are tax loopholes, close them, don’t tax aspiration.
At our recent conference there wasn’t a single conference fringe event about UK start-ups. Jeremy Browne did his best to mention entrepreneurship in every speech he made, but he was a lone voice.
We need to start shouting about how much we have in common with tech entrepreneurs everywhere and I plan to. It’s laughable that with their regressive economic policies, Labour claim to be the party of small business, while most entrepreneurs I know don’t associate with any core grassroots Conservative values.
Now is our chance, lets start(up).