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Things Are Looking Up by Michael Jacobsen



We may not have as much disposable income as we would like yet, but we have all heard reports about the economy improving. Serial entrepreneur and global SME Michael Jacobsen gives us some facts and figures that show the economy is on the mend.


The last six years since the world changed (i.e. the Global Financial Crisis) has been a tumultuous one for the business world. It has been uncertain for the world’s largest companies, let alone the SMEs and start-ups that are without the financial cushioning of a large firm. We have seen companies big and small go to the wall and even household names such as Kodak have landed in bankruptcy – not to mention the collapsed banks!


The unwritten law in all financial markets is every boom must bust and, likewise, every bust must once again boom. It is cyclical.


We are now starting to see developed world economies improving; in particular, Britain is showing GDP growth and increasing exports. GDP increased 0.8% in the first quarter of 2014, but crucially this was up 3.1% year on year, demonstrating massive growth and making the UK one of the fastest growing western economies. The UK economy remains just 0.6% smaller than its peak in 2008, which isn’t at all bad given the tumultuous time it has been though in the interim.


However, the question I ask myself is, did the world really ‘end’ during the GFC?

We have seen in the same period of time the rise in mega companies like Facebook. At the same time, Apple has become the most valuable company in the world. As Moody’s Corporation – the global credit rating agency – explains, the combined cash of Apple, Microsoft, Google, Verizon Communications, and Pfizer climbed to $404 billion at the end of last year.


Closer to home have also seen a large growth in the UK tech scene with Tech City, now one of the world’s largest tech locales after Silicon Valley, with major companies such as Google and Facebook having a presence there alongside thousands of other start-ups.


We have seen luminaries of the UK tech scene like Eric Van Der Kleis, former CEO of Tech City, go onto other trailblazing activities. He now heads the internationally groundbreaking Level 39 – a Fintech and Future Cities incubator owned by Canary Wharf Corporation.


According to Government statistics, micro and small businesses represent 95 per cent of all companies and employ more than seven million people in the UK. Research from Start Up Britain shows that 526,446 businesses were registered with Companies House in 2013. This beats by a sizeable margin the 484,224 businesses that were recorded in 2012 and the 440,600 that were recorded in 2011.


According to Start Up Loans, 281,197 new firms in the UK have formed in 2014 so far, and we are only half way through the year. If this continues, 2014 will outstrip 2013. There are now 4.9m small businesses operating in the UK.


General Colin Powell once said: “Optimism is a force multiplied.” This is a military term and it indicates a major asset. The US military recognises that optimism can win wars; sports players recognise that the psychology of positivity in their performance can have significant impacts on the field. Our government as well recognises that optimism in the key economic indicator of Consumer Confidence, which is really just optimism or pessimism. It isn’t real. It’s people’s psychology.


Now that the statistics are revealing that the economy is improving in the UK, lets couple that with some optimism and get our visions in place and start new businesses and grow existing ones to bolster our economy for the future. We can improve our own bottom lines and the business ecosystem as well.


Michael Jacobsen

Michael Jacobsen is a high profile Australian-born serial entrepreneur and global SME. He holds a Bachelor of Business Degree from UTS in Sydney and a financial Diploma from the Australian Securities Institute. Michael co-founded and co-owned a global multi-million dollar entertainment empire with World Rights to Dirty Dancing on Stage and an entertainment property portfolio, at its core. As well as his co-ownership, prior to his exiting of the investment, Michael also co-produced Dirty Dancing on Stage, which has grossed over $US700m globally and is recognized as one of the world’s top-grossing entertainment properties of all time. He has also been involved in the promotion of numerous large-scale concert tours including those by legendary artists Elton John, Usher, Bruce Springsteen and Barbra Streisand. Michael also co-founded and successfully exited two large property companies : one investing in such assets as theatres, entertainment arenas, convention centres and stadiums(ranging fom 200 to 3000 seats); the other containing a variety of other property investments. His entrepreneurial activities span entertainment IP ownership, production, property and Angel investment along with the ownership of companies in the food and beverage,tech and business education sectors. He has co-founded and in some cases funded numerous businesses both small and large, across a variety of business sectors. In all of these areas he has founded or co-founded large scale companies and achieved significant exits. Michael is a published author, having released The Business Of Creativity in 2013 through Brightword. Passionate about business education and teaching, he also acts as a Mentor at the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy; is a Titan of Industry at the School for Creative Start Ups; was a Visiting Entrepreneur for Start Up Britain , is a mentor at Techstars and Financial Technology Accelerator Level 39 and is a Selected Coach for the Government’s Growth Accelerator programme, for which Grant Thornton is the delivery Partner. Transatlantic Entertainment is an entertainment,media and technology company. Michael is Chairman of the Board. Michael also regularly lectures at universities and has recently delivered classes at the University of Westminster University, York St John University and London Metropolitan University. Michael also acts as a Non-Executive Director and Advisor to the Boards of several companies and entities including: Australian Centre for Event Management (division of the University of Technology Sydney’s Business Faculty); Gloria Jean’s Coffees ( Australian-owned multinational Coffee Chain with stores in 43 countries sold in 2013, Eclipse Global Entertainment and Transatlantic Entertainment and sits on the Steering Committee of Business Charity NACUE/Create. He also advises Governments in several countries on matters related to entrepreneurialism and is an Ambassador for Creative and Cultural Skills 'Building a Creative Nation’ Campaign. With particular expertise in the areas of finance,capital raising, sales/marketing,global growth and corporate governance, Michael also undertakes Non-Executive advisory to the Boards of carefully selected British SMEs including those in the tech, food & beverage and creative sectors. Given his strong connections with and business interests in Central and Eastern Europe as well as other emerging markets, Michael founded The Global Entrepreneurs Agency which is a Social Business spearheading the establishment of partnerships and synergies between British companies and those from CEE and other emerging markets.

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