Conservative candidate for Liverpool Riverside, Jackson Ng, addressed the National Association of University and College Entrepreneurs Conference held at John Moores University.
You can read Jackson's speech here:
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Liverpool.
I am delighted to be here today and to see so many engaged students. I would like to thank Johnny Luk and his team at NACUE who I know work very hard in ensuring that individuals like you, students are interested in entrepreneurship, are supported, connected and represented at all levels of our society.
I want to give you a brief introduction to myself. My name is Jackson and I am the Conservative Party’s Parliamentary Candidate for Liverpool Riverside in the upcoming General Election in May. Liverpool Riverside covers Liverpool City Centre, including the areas around this university. I am running for Parliament because I believe in giving back and serving society. I understand that many of you are Liverpool students, who can vote and so you can vote me – but that’s not just why I’m here.
I currently work as a lawyer; specialising in commercial law and litigation. I am also, like you, an entrepreneur, having co-started and invested in several businesses, including a work share space / incubator in Central London, a boutique estate agency and even a cleaning business.
My professional experience coupled with my voluntary work for the community has taken me to also being an Advisor in Parliament - advising on issues like trade and investment - and also Director of the Conservative Friends of the Chinese where I have worked to foster better trade links with China.
I also have an unusual background, having lived in many countries – my experience has given me insight about what works and what doesn’t and why the UK is particularly pro-business.
The theme is ‘going global’ – so I want to take an interesting approach and say why we have built the conditions for British enterprises and entrepreneurs to be able to go global.
Why we are in a position to ‘going global’?
Now, I want to explain why we are in a position to go global, how our country is geared up to take advantages afforded by the world, why this is important, as well as convey some of my priorities in politics and policy.
My thoughts align profoundly with NACUE here in that education is close to my heart. I believe in giving opportunities to all people – no matter who they are, or where they come from.
Without a talent pipeline in place – we cannot possible hope to build scalable businesses that can export from Britain to the world – like we used to.
I want young people to have the best teachers and to have decent class sizes. I also believe in students who have opportunities to learn the soft skills, such as teamwork, leadership and drive. I find it very important for our next generation to be able to speak Chinese Mandarin, Arabic and Spanish – languages which will edge competitors in securing business deals and also giving an insight into different cultures.
Working in societies, including enterprise societies is such an example, which works because we foster those support. I want more young people to do that, more people to learn these skills – they are crucial not just for your own development, but for our country – as part of our long term economic plan.
Our universities, like the one we are in now, continue to rank as among the best in the world, with hundreds of thousands of international students, top researchers and the highest ever amount of young people applying to university this year, 500,000. We have also given more support to colleges and provided more flexible, practical learning.
That has made us the envy in the world for education, and it also means we are providing the best talent to produce the best companies.
2. Securing jobs for young people
I also want more jobs for young people. When I was reading law at university, I was constantly worrying if I will be able to find a job upon graduation – whether there will be opportunities for me, whether the economy was doing well enough for graduates to be taken on. So I understand why it is important to support individuals like you, in your education, pursuit of entrepreneurship and graduate job.
Well, under this government, we have created 1,000 new jobs a day. Employment is up 1.75 million since the last election. That is 1.75 more people with the security of bringing home a pay check.
That is right; imagine it – we are filling this entire lecture hall plus more – with jobs every single day.
That didn’t come by accident. Those jobs came from the private sector. And specifically – from start-ups, self-employed entrepreneurs and small businesses. Some from apprenticeships.
We have created 2 million apprenticeships in this Parliament – giving young people the skills and on job training required to help them succeed in the global race – and get on in life. Employers have been incentivised to take on apprentices and standards of apprenticeships have increased. However, we want to do more, we have pledged to fund 3 million apprenticeships in the next Parliament.
For our international friends here, this Conservative led government has supported the Sirius Programme, to allow international students with business ideas to flourish here and delivered the new entrepreneurship visas.
We have made it easier to set up a business where it takes just a few minutes to register company online. We have created the Start Up Loans – a government funded scheme to provide individuals like you and start up businesses advice, business loans, and mentoring. From my experiences, even as a lawyer and entrepreneur – I know how it can be sometimes daunting to find yourself sitting in front of a computer wondering how to decipher those contracts, excel spreadsheets and accounting rules. Or even how to put together a business plan with a clear financial forecast despite knowing you have an exciting idea which can be commercialised.
Now, for those of you here looking to go global – who might have that product or service where your market is international, we have also strengthened UK Trade & Investment – an agency where if you have a business with a cool idea, we will, for free, help to take it abroad to all our embassies across the world for them to be your ambassadors. I have personally worked with UKTI and I know it works well.
You might think, no way, it is too hard, no possible to export. Well, you might not believe this but I know of British companies that with a bit of marketing and unique selling points - export tea, Chinese sauces and even Cromwell Crabs to China. There are much more we can export around the world; our much envied educational system, creative industries and varied food products.
I am here to tell you to embrace enterprise because you guys will be ones creating the jobs, the investment, and the future opportunities for our next generation. You will be the ones driving forward the British economy globally in the 21st century – to maintain our position as of the top economies in the world. Exporting helps to make that happen – most businesses still don’t export, just imagine if we did?
3. Britain's long term economic plan
Now, we can’t deliver any of this, without a long-term economic plan.
Time flies, many of you are at college, or at university, but before you know it, it will time to move on to the world of work.
And I want you to feel optimistic about it.
There have never been more opportunities than now in making things happen. Our economy is leading in the G7, our corporate tax rate is lowest in the region, we have been judged the best place in Europe to start a business and we have an education system envied around the world.
We continue to invest in infrastructure and have plans to create ‘Northern Powerhouses’, so that cities like Liverpool shines as a regional beacon for business and investment.
I want to see Liverpool connected by high speed rail to other regions in Britain, our John Lennon Airport connected to more European hubs so we can connect to the rest of the world better. In fact, I want to go further and ensure that the airport gets investment to extend its runway so that international flights can come directly to this city – bringing investment, businesses and tourism – and thereby creating jobs. If elected, I want to ensure that we have one of the largest job fairs in the country in this city – we have a world class university with passionate students and entrepreneurs like you – businesses should be coming to you. I want to secure a better future for Liverpool, just like the Conservatives for Britain.
But that’s just the beginning – we need to continue to work hard to ensure Britain’s economic recovery.
We’ve also build bridges around different countries including China. As Director of the Conservative Friends of the Chinese, I, along with senior colleagues, have built more economic links with China, opening up doors and making it easier for you to trade with them - in the past 5 years, British food and drinks export have doubled to China. Furthermore, British investments in China is set to quadruple over the next five years – to around £26 billion.
Believe it or not, Pizza Express and Weetabix are now also owned by the Chinese, so are stakes in Manchester and Heathrow airports – further signs that our economy is globalising fast and therefore a real need to my previous point in ensuring our future generations and work force can compete globally.
We live in a technological world where we can export easier than ever before, with a click of a button on your laptop. Life has been made much easier with Ebay and Paypal. Utilise the power of social media, websites, apps and YouTube to showcase your products and services. We have even boosted broadband so that millions of Britons can do this – especially in rural areas. Just imagine if we still used the dial up system now!
So this is the opportunity for you to take up - be excited – seize the moment, and I and organisations like NACUE will back you all the way, we will work on the policy to continue to help open doors for you and I want to hear your aspirations and your dreams.
We want to be known that if you set up a business in the UK, and indeed in Liverpool, it will have the best chance of becoming scalable and be not just a titan in the UK – but hopefully a major player in the world.
Look around you, network furiously – who knows, your future business partner, potential funder or supplier or importer might just be in this room, right now.
If you like the sound of what you’ve heard, and you want to hear more of this, then come talk to me afterwards and let us make it happen.