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Starting a business 2

The BBC has interviewed many start-up entrepreneurs over the years for their In Business programme.
Jul 06,2015

Jackie: You may not have heard of Smashburger but it is one of the fastest growing companies in the US. It started with just one outlet in Denver in 2007 and now has more than 150 branches nationwide. It aims to reach 500 US branches within the next few years and 2000 international outlets in the not-too-distant future. But Smashburger is not unique in the US.


Richard: So for the second part of our podcasts on starting a business we're going to look at America's continuing entrepreneurial success.


Jackie: Richard, you've got some reasons why the US have key advantages over their European counterparts.


Richard: Yes. In the UK for instance, banks will give money to people who want to start up their own business, but if it goes wrong, you may lose everything. That means all your savings and your house. So that is a major problem. But in the US, banks are more willing to actually invest the money in the business themselves, so you don't actually lose all the money.


Jackie: So the US banks are willing to become part of the company.

Richard: Exactly. They're investing rather than just lending to the person.

Jackie: Er... another reason?

Richard: Well, it's also to do with that, in the UK um... if things do go wrong, you become bankrupt.


Jackie: Yeah because I know, Richard, that er... bankruptcy, it's a... an embarrassment in the UK, isn't it?


Richard: Yes, It's very bad thing in the UK. There are lots of things you can't do if you're bankrupt. You certainly can't borrow any more money, and um... it's not thought of as being very good at all.


Jackie: But that's not the same in the US?


Richard: Well in the US, Banks have a different attitude. Um... they say it's... it's a useful experience to have gone through. You've gone through the bankruptcy, OK, but you've had the experience and they're willing to give you a second chance or even a third chance.

Jackie: Well, that's very different.


Richard: Indeed, yes. And finally, the American taxation system. It's much better for startup companies, for small firms um... wanting to grow. That is a major advantage that the Americans have.


Jackie: So someone who has a good idea to start a new company is far more likely to give it a go in the US than they are in the UK then?


Richard: Exactly. And that's why um... the likes of Google, Twitter, Facebook... the really big new companies of the last few years, they're all American.


Jackie: And they all started very small.


Richard: Very small. They often say [they] all started in their garage.

Jackie: Right. Well, let's see if Smashburger is the next big hit.