The English dictionary has always been full of inaccurate descriptions and definitions. Dr Johnson’s first dictionary, in all its glory, proffered some seriously poor standards: for example, his definition of ‘cough’ was “A convulsion of the lungs, vellicated by some sharp serosity. It is pronounced coff.” Such imperfections still blemish the modern dictionary: the word “entrepreneur”, for instance, is widely believed to represent a person who creates a unique or entirely new product or service, but is still seen as interchangeable with “businessman”.
Many modern British entrepreneurs appear to truly embody the unique spirit of entrepreneurship. Perhaps the most famous is Virgin’s Sir Richard Branson, worth over £3 billion, as estimated by the Sunday Times Rich List 2006.
Even the American giant Donald Trump professes to possess certain British roots, as his mother grew up in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis. Perhaps the most famous of modern British entrepreneurs is Stelios Haji-Ioannou, founder of the easyGroup, who was recently knighted.
The dramatic take-off of Stelios’ easyJet company, set up when he was only 28, is widely recognised to be the forerunner of the modern aviation scene, and responsible for transforming the airline market for the benefit of millions of consumers in Britain and across Europe.
Today, his easy empire constitutes a variety of goods and services, including easyCar, easyMoney, easyHotel and even easyPizza. The brand easyCar has recently become one of the leading low cost car hire specialists on the web, again highlighting Stelios’ unwavering entrepreneurship skills.
Though Stelios was born and finished his schooling in Greece, his recent knighthood for services to entrepreneurship shows how he has become an integral part of British culture, and ingrained in the national business landscape.
Other notable British entrepreneurs include Andrew Regan, founder of Corvus Capital, and Richard Brown, Chief Executive of personal finance comparison site, Moneynet.
Regan, born in Manchester but now living in Geneva, is head of the firm Corvus, which operates in investments in insurance, technology, commodities, media, music, food brands, and telecoms among other fields.
As well as this, Regan is an experienced traveller to the Polar Regions, and has been to both the North and South Poles, as well as backing 2005’s Ice Challenger expedition.
Richard Brown’s pioneering website Moneynet offers valuable information comparing financial data in order to help customers make the most informed choices about their finances.
Among the areas covered by Moneynet are loans, mortgages, credit cards and insurance as well as life insurance. Moneynet also offers a handy news section, in which customers can be alerted to the latest trends and patterns amongst consumers and buyers.
Though many concur that Branson is the country’s greatest entrepreneurial asset, the title has also been bestowed upon Jamie Dyson, inventor of the Dyson vacuum, Alan Sugar of Amstrad fame, and Sir Clive Sinclair, the man widely held responsible for the development of the modern home computer.
The sheer number of people vying for the position of ‘Britain’s greatest entrepreneur’ means that the term is often contested which can only be good for Britain and it’s economy !