Many companies are still asking Government for more when perhaps the real question is actually, what more can and should companies do themselves to support the rebuilding process?

There are many discussions circulating industry asking what more can Government do to be of support. A fair enough discussion but maybe a more important discussion and one which sits much closer to home evolves around:

· What more can companies do to work with entrepreneurs?

· What more can companies do to help the young and talent find hope, optimism and energy to build great careers within our industry?

Did you know that start-ups are no longer the domain of the young but that 60% in 2019 were set up by those aged between 40-60?

Some argue that this is because more of the young are finding it harder to take a risk as they are already daunted by the challenges of having high student debt and no sight of being able to get on the housing ladder. For hospitality, it is reported that record numbers are considering leaving the industry for good and recent furlough and redundancies are not helping the situation. 

There is no doubting the challenges to be faced at this time but:

· SMEs in the UK economy account for close to 50% of turnover in the private sector

· SMEs account for close to 60% of employment in the private sector.

· 67% of Millennials do not believe they are heard by their companies or have a meaningful voice.

· 1:3 below the age of 30 are expected to lose their jobs

· Reaching Director level is taking ten years longer than in 2000 and most young people carry far greater debt.

So what can be done?

It is logical to argue that the UK economy needs SMEs to prosper in order for the economy to do well and it is in the interest of big business to be more supportive of this objective. It also needs the energy and ambition of the young, their resilience and the different way that they think.

The IMF is warning that the global recession after COVID-19 will be the deepest for the best part of a century. It has been shown that those most at risk are not the older, experienced players but younger workers. The energy of the young is often needed in times of crisis. One wants the young to feel bold enough, trusted enough and empowered enough to take a risk and create positive change.

All businesses have a role to play. We all talk today of the importance of collaboration and sharing knowledge but this also lies in supporting entrepreneurs and the young as they seek to grow. The economy will recover when all feel that they have good opportunities to excel and that that is not restricted. This then builds confidence which can sweep through the industry, create jobs and underpin the essential roles that our industry plays and the positive impact it creates. It existed in the 1980s and 90s and lay the ground for a golden era. We now need to lay the ground for the same again.

That is surely the role of leadership? That is surely an important purpose for business?

Work with entrepreneurs; give the young belief.