Leading British entrepreneurs sign letter in favour of UK staying in the Single Market

More than thirty of Britain’s leading entrepreneurs, including Richard Reed and Lord Bilimoria, have signed a letter to the Financial Times in favour of Britain staying in the Single Market. The letter, organised by the Open Britain campaign, says we should leave the EU “in a way that protects the economy of the future” which “means being open to trade and talent” and “being in the Single Market.”

The signatories to the letter, which include the founders of well-known British businesses like eBookers, Ecotricity, Games Workshop, Jack Wills, Net-a-Porter and Zoopla, argue that “there is no substitute for free trade within our largest and closest market” and leaving the Single Market will mean UK innovators “across all sectors would face new regulatory hurdles and potentially tariffs that could hurt their business prospects.” They letter also warns against “a rapid reduction in migration” which “risks denying entrepreneurs access to the skills and talent they need.” 

Richard Reed, Co-Founder of Innocent Drinks and Jam Jar Investments, said:

“There is no mandate for the kind of hard, destructive Brexit that will harm Britain’s enduring entrepreneurial spirit. 

“If the Government is serious about supporting the economy of the future, then it should listen to some of Britain’s leading entrepreneurs and put staying in the Single Market at the heart of their negotiating plan.” 

Lord Bilimoria, Founder of Cobra Beer, said:

“The UK has become one of the best places in the world to start a business, where entrepreneurship and innovation are championed. The last thing Britain’s entrepreneurs can afford are harmful new barriers to trade, when so many have prospered through free trade with the world’s largest marketplace, on our doorstep. 

“If Britain’s economy is to prosper after Brexit, it needs the kind of access to trade and talent we enjoy today, which is best achieved by staying in the Single Market. A closed and inward-looking Brexit would be disastrous.”


Notes to editors 

The full text of the letter is below:

After Brexit, Britain is going to need the dynamism, innovation and spirit of entrepreneurs more than ever before. But that can only happen if we enjoy free and unrestricted trade with our biggest partner: Europe.

Entrepreneurs benefit from the UK being in the Single Market. This lowers barriers to trade and enables skills and ideas to quickly cross borders unhindered. As a result, new companies have access to the world’s largest free trading marketplace and can expand and employ more rapidly.

If the UK were to leave the Single Market the UK’s innovators across all sectors would face new regulatory hurdles and potentially tariffs that could hurt their business prospects. There is no substitute for free trade within our largest and closest market.

And a rapid reduction in migration risks denying entrepreneurs access to the skills and talent they need. We believe our economy should welcome all those with the skills and the intention to make a contribution.

Britain voted to leave the European Union. We must do so in a way that protects the economy of the future. For us, that means being open to trade and talent, which means being in the Single Market. 

The full list of signatories to the letter, signed in a personal capacity, is below:

Richard Reed, Co-Founder, Innocent Drinks and Jam Jar Investments

Lord Bilimoria, Founder, Cobra Beer

Jason Goodman, Founder, Albion and Entrepreneur in residence, Atomico            

Marta Krupinska, Co-Founder, Azimo

Wil Benton, CEO, Chew

Alastair Paterson, Co-Founder and CEO, Digital Shadows

James Chappell, Co-Founder and CTO, Digital Shadows

Ernesto Schmitt, Co-Founder and CEO, Drivetribe

Rahul Parekh, Co-Founder and CEO, EatFirst

Dinesh Dhamija, Founder,

Dale Vince, Founder and CEO, Ecotricity

Frankie Fox, Co-Founder, The Foraging Fox

Ian Livingstone CBE, Chairman, Sumo Digital and Co-Founder, Games Workshop

Rishi Chowdhury, Co-Founder, IncuBus Ventures Ltd.

Peter Williams, Founder and CEO, Jack Wills

Alexandra Chong, Founder, Lulu

Evgeny Shadchnev, Co-Founder and CEO, Makers Academy

Rana Harvey, Founder and Managing Director, Monster Group

Arnaud Massenet, Co-Founder, Net-a-Porter

Eamon Jubbawy, Co-Founder and COO, Onfido

Paul Varga, CEO and Co-Founder, Playbrush

Mairtin O'Riada, Co-Founder and CIO, Ravelin

Annie Penn, Co-Founder and Creative Director, Smokin Donut

Sam Amrani, Founder and Executive Chairman, Tamoco

Russ Shaw, Founder, Tech London Advocates

George Bevis, Founder and CEO, Tide

Niamh Barker, Founder and Managing Director, The Travelwrap Company

Shelley Taylor, Founder and CEO, trellyz

Merilee Karr, Founder and CEO, UnderTheDoormat

Francis Toye, CEO and Founder, Unilink

Peter Ward, CEO,

Andy Atkins-Krüger, Founder and CEO, Webcertain

Alex Chesterman, Founder and CEO, Zoopla

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Promoted by James McGrory on behalf of Open Britain Ltd, both of Tenter House, 45 Moorfields, London, EC2Y 9AE.