Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Talk Keeps Business Spirits High in Gloom

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Talk Keeps Business Spirits High in Gloom

Article excerpt

Byline: Sarah French

ALEADING market commentator set out to restore confidence and inspire North East entrepreneurs to have faith - and a stake - in Britain's economic recovery.

Justin Urquhart Stewart said the country was "on a slow, grinding, anaemic path" but there were reasons to be optimistic, both nationally and globally, when he spoke to leading business figures at the Entrepreneurs' Forum annual chairman's dinner.

"Britain is not doomed. It can be quite rightly described as damaged, but damage can be repaired," he said.

"All the news over Christmas was uncompromisingly awful; that there was no stopping us heading for that depression. There are several problems but the good news is we know exactly what has to be done to fix them."

He said 10 years of boom would inevitably be followed by 10 years of lean. "It's a cycle, but at least we're already three years in," he said.

"It takes time. You have to restructure.

There is no Harry Potter spell. But there are things within our capability to improve. Under those leaden skies there are shafts of light."

A former barrister, Urquhart Stewart worked in international corporate finance in the Far East and Africa, where he was shot in a coup, before starting his own business which he later sold to Barclays. In 2001 he co-founded Seven Investment Management which now manages pounds 3bn worth of assets on behalf of clients.

The event at Jesmond Dene House hotel in Newcastle, which launched a new season of events for the Entrepreneurs' Forum, saw outgoing chairman Tom Maxfield officially hand over the mantle to Nigel Mills.

Mills said the Forum's founding principle of encouraging entrepreneurship through sharing knowledge and experience had "never been more relevant" and that it had a critical part to play in "fostering and realising growth in the North East".

His view was supported by Urquhart Stewart who added: "If the Entrepreneurs' Forum could be copied throughout the UK we would have a stunning economy. …

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