Uncertainty is the real result of Britain’s decision to divorce itself from the European Union in the about-to-be-infamous ‘Brexit’
Uncertainty over what comes next. Uncertainty over how such a bold move will manifest in our complex world.
Just like a ex-Corporate entrepreneur turned ‘indie start-up rebel’, the result of the Brexit decision is the whole country is now spinning-off with a ton of talent but no clear plan.
This uncertainty will certainly have a short-term impact on the conventional community — the currency markets are the first to show jitters and anyone who likes to predict risk to avoid it will be sweating right now.
Yet for the innovation community of entrepreneurs and innovators, the lack of clarity is something we face every day; you might argue that many startups succeed due to a certain naiveté of the founders.
Here in the Philippines, we have just been through a shake-up in politics, the ramifications of which are yet to be felt. Yet, the startup community continues to embrace change and seek out opportunity, as they should.
In the UK, the powers that be can’t even be sure when the Brexit divorce will go through. The soon-to-be ex-Prime Minister of Britain, David Cameron, has to choose when to act on Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, triggering a two year period to negotiate a formal withdrawal.
That might happen now, or, more likely, with the next Prime Minister (closer to the United Kingdom’s next general election in 2020). So that is still five or six years to figure out what the final Brexit might mean for Britain and the world.
It is not as if anyone in power has a definitive answer. The elected bodies have not dealt with a situation like this — one that will require the unraveling of 40 years of laws and customs linked to EU Membership.
So one can assume that alongside governing, they will also be scratching their heads and having long conversations with lawyers about how to interpret this issue or that circumstance. Established businesses will, I assume, be doing the same. They may have planned for the short-term by hedging on their currency of choice, but within the next six years most people are going to try hard to settle into some kind of normal.
For the British rebels who voted to gamble on the opportunity a Brexit might bring, I am reminded of ‘Friends and Family investors’ prepared to back their loved ones without thinking too much of a potential return. There are also plenty of Angel investors who see potential and are are willing to back the team if not the actual business plan.
So even though an exit from EU does not seem like a smart move to the more conventional (or even the better informed), who can truly say that this little Britain startup won’t find it’s niche and succeed?
Certainly for most entrepreneurs and start-ups, ideas are the currency and risk is embraced as the catalyst for disruption, opportunity and reward.
And for all of us small businesses and start-ups, the uncertainty that is the first part of this Brexit adventure will be a familiar one to us. We are all unsure of the future, we are all using our ideas to ride those choppy waves, and we are all optimistic for the rewards this risk will bring.
It may be a huge gamble for the British people to take, and it may have been a decision based more on stirred-up emotions than on the pragmatic facts offered to them by those in business and politics. But, as an entrepreneurial endeavor, why shouldn’t we be optimistic for the outcome?
After all, if the price of progress is change then change is definitely coming for Britain, Europe and the world.