Brexit: what’s next for startup Britain?

As a nation we’ve jumped off a cliff – now it’s time to build a parachute

Brexit: what’s next for startup Britain?

Shocked? Me too. As a pro-European and Remain voter, I was glued to my TV until the gut-punch moment it was finally confirmed the UK had voted to leave the EU. However, in the hours and days since, I’ve found myself pondering: is it really all that bad?

Let me be clear: if I was asked again I would still vote to remain within the EU. However, as an entrepreneur, I’m no stranger to facing risk and finding ways to capitalise on it, so I’m optimistic about the future even now. Leaping into the unknown always has unforeseen consequences – but I know it can also create fantastic opportunities.

Part of the reason I remain positive is that the UK has always been a magnet for highly talented entrepreneurs. My business thrives by hiring talent from across the world, not just the EU, so Brexit won’t change anything for us. This world-class talent, along with access to capital and government support, has always made the UK a homeland for startups. We may have voted to leave the EU but I believe the UK will remain a nation of small-business owners and entrepreneurs.

What does this mean? In short that we’re well adapted for change. Even though the financial reaction to Brexit is fuelled mainly by a fear of change, UK entrepreneurs thrive in disruptive environments and know that achievement is always on the other side of fear. We may have jumped off a cliff but, in true startup spirit, we can build our parachute on the way down.

I still struggle personally to accept the decision to leave the EU but I also know it’s our democratic duty to follow the majority decision. I can accept this because I believe in the UK. I believe in the ability of our entrepreneurs, small business owners and business leaders to pioneer and adapt. I also believe that if we embrace this change then there are some huge opportunities within our grasp.

Post-Brexit UK is a startup nation and, much like launching any new business, it’s scary at first to consider the challenges lying  ahead. However, as Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz once said: “Dream more than others think practical. Expect more than others think possible.”

Do I agree with the decision? No. Do I accept the decision? Yes. Now let’s dare to dream and work together for a brighter, independent United Kingdom.

Edward Relf
Edward Relf

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