What Northern Ireland really needs, says Jeff Peel, is more new jobs in private industry, not just more new start ups:
Trade is good. Trade allows people to build business expertise. If people can build income by selling on eBay or at their local flea market – that’s good business. Because business is only good or bad on the basis that it creates profit and provides sufficient return to its founders. But there is a received wisdom that creating a string of failed Internet businesses is some type of badge of honour. I think a greater badge of honour is creating profitable business – regardless of how sexy or unsexy the business concept is.
There’s also a received wisdom that venture capital is the key to business success. It isn’t. Often it merely sustains awful business ideas and allows business founders to have an inflated sense of achievement when they haven’t raised a single invoice. And, unfortunately, far too many VC firms are sustained – almost completely – by tax-payer money.