The organisation, which encourages young people to consider self employment, had hoped to continue in a slimmed down form.
However at a board meeting on Monday, chaired by entrepreneur, Dragons’ Den panellist and founder of the National Enterprise Academy Peter Jones, Enterprise UK’s founders – the CBI, the Institute of Directors, the British Chambers of Commerce, and the Federation of Small Businesses – decided that following the withdrawal of its £3.8m of funding from the government the organisation had to wind up.
David Frost, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said Enterprise UK, like many bodies delivering public policy, had become too dependent on public funding.
“It is absolutely clear that business organisations will continue to focus on stimulating enterprise across the UK. But Enterprise UK had become a very large organisation and was very, very dependent on BIS. It was launched to promote enterprise to young people but it’s changed very dramatically in recent years and had become hugely dependent on public funding.”
From left to right: Peter Jones, Miles Templeman, Mark Prisk, Matt Brittin, Tom Berwick
Cliff Prior, Vince Cable, at the launch of Global Entrepreneurship Week last year.
Enterprise UK had grown to an organisation with more than 70 staff, although half had already left – following the last Government making the large amount of funding available.
“They followed the money and under the last Government there was up to £5m a year. It was an enormous amount of money.” Frost added.
Miles Templeman, director general of the Institute of Directors, said: “In truth, the theme of trying to bring young people into business and teach people about business goes on but they [The government] have decided there’s a more cost effective way to do it.”
Activities like the “Make Your mark” and the “Tenner” campaign, which sees School children given £10 to fund a micro business start-up will continue this year with funding from Mr Jones, Michael and Xochi Birch, founders of Bebo.com, and the Big Lottery Fund.