London Stock Exchange chief: Entrepreneurs are the only hope for the European Union

THE head of the London Stock Exchange Group said entrepreneurs are the only hope for the European Union, writes Bernard Ginns.

Xavier Rolet

Chief executive Xavier Rolet said wealth creators can generate the finance to pay for good education, public transport and healthcare systems. They can also cement what is left of the attachment of EU citizens to a capital markets-based economy, he added. Speaking at the EY Entrepreneur of the Year awards, Mr Rolet said: “There are 25.5m unemployed people in the EU. On the other hand there are 23m small and mid-sized enterprises.

“Of these, 5.2m are headquartered in the UK. It is by far the largest contingent. I hear about Mittelstand in Germany, family busineses in Italy, Spain and France but the truth is the UK is home to twice the contingent of SMEs than the nearest competitor in the EU, Germany, with 2.3m. There is something unique that has happened here in the UK. Some 580,000 new businesses were created in the UK last year.”

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He said Britain is in the middle of an innovation revolution in the manufacturing and service industries, supported by new science coming out of its “wonderful” university system.

He said all businesses “can be re-engineered through the stimulating disruption of innovation, of fresh, different thinking”.

Mr Rolet said the UK has improved access to finance for businesses with growth potential so they no longer need to move abroad.

He added: “Between venture capital, crowdfunding, redirection of private equity and fantastic new platforms like LSEG’s Elite, all the tools are in the UK for companies to stay at home, to succeed, to raise the capital, be it equity or debt, so they can grow and create jobs and (go on) the journey from start-up to stardom. We want the next Google, the next Facebook and the next Microsoft.”

Mr Rolet said a one per cent increase in high-growth businesses will create 230,000 new jobs and add £38bn to the UK’s GDP.