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The small business vote

The General Election campaign has been incredibly dull and predictable if you ask me. Aside from the 24-hour media storm over a pink minibus and that Joey Essex/Nick Clegg selfie, the main parties have given the campaign the yawn factor by playing it painfully safe.

All three parties are sticking to their policy comfort zones to preserve their own strengths.

Even though there’s not a lot of rousing stuff happening in politics at the moment, I don’t think this is an accurate reflection of things happening in our society. What has been particularly exciting in the UK in the last five years is the growth of the number of unique startups.

There are now more self-employed people than ever – with one freelancer for every six full-time employees – and Britain’s fastest growing small social enterprises are contributing a whopping £22 billion to the economy. Suddenly small businesses have found themselves more empowered than ever before, a force to be reckoned with as they gain more political power.

What’s clear now is the millennial generation – or idea generation as I like to call it – has evolved a strong entrepreneurial culture, where drive, ambition and being a part of the start-up scene is seen as cool. It has become the cultural norm to extend our working lives to our personal lives.

Start-ups have not only become the sexy career choice, they’ve become an attractive lifestyle born out of low employment levels which have left many young people living at home with their parents and making money from a hobby.

It’s this culture shift that has pushed business policies higher up the agenda for the young army of entrepreneurs who want to make their start-up dreams a reality. In the run-up to the last election, small businesses weren’t seen as a key issue by the political parties, but this time round we’re experiencing an election where business has been democratised as more people seek to run their own ventures, and the voice of the start-up is growing louder. Small businesses form the bedrock of the UK economy, so it’s now up to the major parties to listen, engage and improve policies to provide the next generation of business leaders with a good head start.