Press Releases

HISTORIC PRESS RELEASE : Entrepreneurs join Chancellor Gordon Brown in call for Business Heroes [December 1999]

The press release issued by HM Treasury on 9 December 1999.

Some of the UK’s leading entrepreneurs today joined the Chancellor Gordon Brown in a call for 1000 business ‘heroes’ to join a campaign to encourage enterprise and more entrepreneurial activity in the UK.

Alan Sugar (Amstrad), James Dyson (Dyson Technology), Martha Lane-Fox ( and Reuben Singh (RS Holdings) launched the call for ‘ business heroes’ at the final Alan Sugar roadshow in London.

The National Enterprise Campaign, is being coordinated by the British Chambers of Commerce in partnership with government, key business organisations including the Institute of Directors and CBI, and support organisations such as Young Enterprise and the Princes Trust. It will be launched in Spring 2000. Its aim is to create a cadre of business ‘heroes’ – successful entrepreneurs and directors/managers from UK companies of all sizes – to spearhead activities to encourage enterprise and a more entrepreneurial culture throughout the country.

In addition to the entrepreneurs at the launch Virgin Boss, Richard Branson, Prue Leith, Dr Chris Evans of Merlin Scientific and Simon Woodroffe of YO! Sushi have also signed up to the campaign.

The Chancellor said:

“We want to encourage those who start with nothing – and who, in the past, thought they could never reach higher – that there is not only a chance to do better but that there is no limit to their ambitions. The National Enterprise Campaign will seek to create a more entrepreneurial culture, by transforming attitudes developing skills and encouraging the formation of new businesses.

“The sharpest spur to the enterprise of the young is the example of enterprise by others. I am delighted that we have some of Britain’s top business leaders involved in the campaign to help tomorrow’s entrepreneurs achieve success.”

Stephen Byers, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry said:

“I am pleased to announce that my department will be contributing £60,000 for the first stage of the National Enterprise Campaign.
“A strong culture of enterprise is vital if Britain is to succeed in this global economy and this Campaign will play an essential part in helping to cretae this.”

Chris Humphries, Director General of the BCC said:

“This network of entrepreneurs will act as the campaign’s ‘Heroes for Enterprise’. They will come from a wide range of backgrounds, ages and types of business, and will play a key role in promoting creativity, innovation and risk-taking. “

Entrepreneurs signing up to the Campaign will be essential in promoting and encouraging at all levels – nationally, regionally and locally – the importance and value of enterprise and entrepreneurship.

By participating in the Campaign, they will be able to make a real difference by helping to:

  • change attitudes towards enterprise and entrepreneurship;
  • develop a new generation of entrepreneurs; and
  • build the reputation of business.

Being one of the Campaign’s ‘heroes’ is not a demanding role – it will involve people making three simple commitments:

  • allowing their name to be used as a public supporter of the aims of the Campaign;
  • promoting participation among other business people in the programmes and activities of Campaign partners – including Young Enterprise, Prince’s Trust – Business, Shell Livewire and Understanding Industry; and
  • being willing to participate in other events in their area at which they would speak, honestly and from the heart, on the excitement, challenges and satisfaction of being an entrepreneur.

The ‘heroes’ network is being developed with the Institute of Directors and will build on their successful HUB business ambassador programme.

Entrepreneurs and business people interested in lending their support to the Campaign should e-mail the address below or write to Enterprising Britain, The British Chambers of Commerce, Manning House, 22 Carlisle Place, London, SW1P 1JA.