Chuka Umunna: British business has ‘bad attitude’ towards failure

Shadow business secretary says all failure in business shouldn’t lead to ‘black mark’ for entrepreneurs.

The British business community should adopt a more progressive approach to entrepreneurs who suffer failure, according to shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna.

In an exclusive chat with Growth Business, Umunna said that British business has a “bad attitude” towards failure.

“They have a different culture towards business failure in other countries,” he said. “In the US, for example, there’s an expectation that you may have one or two business failures before you hit upon that idea that really takes off.”

Umunna went on to say that people in the UK are inclined to see anyone whose business fails as “irresponsible” – but he argues this is not always the case.

>See also: Five business giants who failed first time around

“A business failure doesn’t mean that someone has been fraudulent, irresponsible or reckless; it might just be that it was the wrong time,” he said.

Although Umunna accepts that any future government would not be able to drive this change alone, he does believe politicians can “send a message” to innovators looking to branch out on their own.

“It’s not like you can legislate or spend money to change the culture, but I do think the government can send a message,” he continued. “You can send a signal that says ‘look, do give it a go.’ If you’ve got a good idea, a sound business plan and you’re a responsible business we encourage you to try.”

“We’re not going to put a big black mark against your name. If you’ve done everything right and implemented everything to make your business work but it just hasn’t happened, it could just be that it’s the wrong time. So if you’ve got a sound plan don’t be shy about people raining down on you if it doesn’t work out. Not every business is a success.”

Further reading on entrepreneurship: Five lessons in entrepreneurship from The Simpsons

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda was Editor for from 2016 to 2018.

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