Top UK entrepreneurs call for immediate tax breaks to help drive enterprise

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  • Concerns also raised over financing, skilled workers and challenges of investing abroad
  • UK Entrepreneur of the Year Finalists also call for banking reforms to be implemented

London, 20 September 2011: The UK’s leading entrepreneurs have called for immediate tax breaks as the most important measure needed to boost enterprise and growth.

In a survey of the top entrepreneurial business leaders, more than half of the finalists polled from the UK’s Entrepreneur Of The Year, rated reform of tax rates or the scrapping of the 50p rate, as the key measure to help entrepreneurs.

The business leaders, most of whom have started businesses from scratch, and now employ thousands of workers across the UK, described the 50p tax rate as an obstacle to enterprise and incentive, while others complained that they had lost senior managers abroad due to the current rates, severely damaging expansion of their company.

While tax breaks was the most important priority, the sample of entrepreneurs who represent regions and sectors across the UK, also called for more access to finance, reduction in bureaucracy and red tape, and greater available support and advice.

The main challenges cited by the finalists of one of the most prestigious business competition were lack of funding, shortage of skilled staff, the poor economic climate, tax, and volatility in financial markets, lack of confidence and the threat from emerging economies. More than half of companies said they were considering international development but saw challenges in expanding into a BRIC economy.

More than half of those polled also agreed with proposals to split retail and investment banking, announced by the Independent Commission report on Banking.
The poll of 20 of the shortlisted entrepreneurs reflected a cross-section of sectors and businesses in the UK.

Richard Hall, partner and UK Entrepreneur Of The Year leader, said: “Most of these businessmen and women have started from nothing and taken huge risks to drive innovation, employment and growth. They are responsible for more than half of all growth, yet despite this there is a strong view that entrepreneurs still face lack of support. In particular, there are strong concerns that the current tax rates are seriously damaging the competitiveness of their businesses and future expansion. This situation is widely seen as a significant disincentive to doing business in the UK, providing a barrier to new executives coming here, while also driving existing higher earners abroad.”

The final of UK Entrepreneur Of The Year, sponsored by Credit Suisse, will be held in London’s Hilton Park Lane on 3 October, hosted by Fiona Bruce and attended by Business Secretary Vince Cable. The independent judges have recognised the recent vision and success of the entrepreneurs across regions and sectors including recruitment, retail, technology and consumer products.

The successful entrepreneur will then compete with winners of the prestigious title across the world, at the world Entrepreneur of the Year awards in Monte Carlo next year Last year’s winner Ayman Asfari, Group Chief Executive of oil and gas company Petrofac Limited was recognised from turning the company into a US$1mn US domestic business to a leading international services company worth US$8bn. Former category winners have included Hilary Devey, star of BBC’s Dragons’s Den and former Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year Matthew Riley, of Daisy telecoms, who grilled candidates on this year’s The Apprentice.

For further information contact Jonathan Marciano on 0207 951 9456.

The finalists for UK Entrepreneur are:

CompanyNameTitle
Adconion Media Group LtdTyler MoebiusCo-Founder and Chief Executive Officer
AFG Media LtdGregor Lawson
Ali Smeaton
Fraser Smeaton
Founders
Airline Services Holdings LimitedBryan Bodek

Chief Executive

Alexander Dennis LimitedColin RobertsonChief Executive Officer
Antal International LimitedTony GoodwinChief Executive Officer and Founder
AppSense LtdCharles Sharland

Executive Chairman

Argent Energy (UK) LimitedJim WalkerManaging Director
Balhousie Care GroupTony BanksChairman
Barrhead Travel Service LimitedSharon MunroChief Executive
BioRegional Development GroupSue RiddlestoneExecutive Director and Co-Founder
Catlin Group LimitedStephen Catlin

Chief Executive

CDS (Superstores International) LimitedChristopher Dawson

Managing Director

Climate Cars LimitedNicko Williamson

Managing Director

Copal Partners LimitedRishi Khosla

Chief Executive Officer

ECO Plastics LtdJonathan Short

Chief Executive Officer

Ella's Kitchen Group LimitedPaul LindleyFounder and Chief Executive Officer
Endava LimitedJohn Cotterell

Chief Executive Officer

Entertainment Magpie Limited

Steve OliverWalter Gleeson

Chief Executive Officer

Chief Operating Officer
Entiér LimitedPeter BruceManaging Director
EvoEnergy LtdKevin Hard

Chief Executive Officer

Fircroft Engineering Services LtdJohnathan Johnson

Chief Executive Officer

Globus (Shetland) LtdHaraldur Agustsson

Managing Director

Greenergy International LtdAndrew Owens

Chief Executive

Hill Holt WoodKaren Lowthrop

Chief Executive Officer

Hydrasun Holdings LimitedBob DrummondChief Executive Officer
Impact Arts Projects LimitedSusan AktemelDirector
Keltbray Group (Holdings) LimitedBrendan Kerr

Chief Executive Officer

Keltbray Group (Holdings) LimitedBrendan Kerr

Chief Executive Officer

Lexon (UK) Ltd

Anup Sodha Pritesh Soppal

Joint directors
Livity LimitedMichelle Clothier
Sam Conniff
Chairman
Managing Director
/ Co-founders
Markco Media LimitedMark Pearson

Chairman

Mary’s MealsMagnus MacFarlane-BarrowChief Executive
Nails Inc. LimitedThea Green

Founder and Managing Director

Node4Andrew Gilbert

Managing Director

powerPerfector plc GroupAngus Robertson

Chief Executive Officer

R Griggs Group LtdDavid Suddens

Chief Executive

Rixonway Kitchens LtdPaul Rose

Chief Executive

Skyscanner LimitedGareth WilliamsChief Executive Officer & Co-founder
Tekmar Energy LimitedJames RitchieGeneral Manager
The Mountain Group LimitedMark NealeManaging Director
thebigword Holdings LtdLarry GouldChief Executive Officer
Tullis Russell Group LimitedChris ParrGroup Chief Executive
Wonga.comErrol DamelinFounder and Chief Executive Officer