Alan Lewis CBE with young Innospace entrepreneur Ojay McDonald
GRADUATES with creative and business ideas will become the bedrock of Britain’s economic recovery and deserve greater support, according to one of Manchester’s most successful businessmen.
The 120 young entrepreneurs in the University incubator Innospaceought to enjoy the same kudos as lawyers or doctors, believes Alan Lewis CBE, owner of Crombie and a regular in Britain’s rich list.
“Ask a youngster at 14 what they want to be and the answer is ‘lawyer’ or ‘accountant’ or some other white-collar job which is safe and secure,” he says.
“What we need is more of them saying ‘engineer’ or ‘technician’, people who will take a risk and create things.
“If we’re to take our economy forward, we need to give our creative people the kudos that they deserve, and let’s support them with the best business minds available.”
New support for start-ups
Manchester-born Mr Lewis, who also has business interests in forestry, gas, property and banking, and is the Business Vice-Chairman for the Conservative Party, was visiting the University to promote a new model of support for start-up businesses.
Part of his role is to set up regional groups bringing universities and ‘junior’ entrepreneurs together with experienced business figures and banks.
“We want to get banks to invest and maybe some leading entrepreneurs to invest in the best and brightest ideas.
“I love sport but I can honestly say the best game I’ve ever played is business!”
The University’s blossoming enterprise plans, presented by Director of Enterprise Ian Jamieson “impressed” Mr Lewis, who spent 40 minutes listening to young people at the city centre incubator.
Those present included Richard Francis, of letting agent makeurmove and Bruce Thomas, MD of social media strategists Modern English, who said: “I think a regional group is a fantastic idea. We’ve huge creative talent in this country but we need to create more opportunity.”