Losing its entrepreneurial flair

The government has lost one of its best business brains through the departing Rohan Silva.

I was sad to hear that one of David Cameron’s senior advisers, Rohan Silva, was leaving the government and his work with Tech City to forge out on his own.

I’ve heard Silva talk many times, mainly at Google’s campus in East London, and have always been struck by how passionately he talks about innovation and the need to give entrepreneurs as much help as possible.

He has worked hard to champion the need for a more flexible seed and enterprise investment schemes; an easier on-ramp to London’s capital markets for exciting technology companies and the promotion of Old Street’s Silicon Roundabout as a genuine challenger to California’s Silicon Valley.

It always struck me as odd that he had ended up in politics, if only because he knew how to answer a question as people hope – with a real answer.

I imagine, and this is massively clutching at straws, that he was swept up in the politics side of university and rode his intellect and great speaking all the way to Number 10.

And then came news of what he now plans to do with his career. In the short term, Silva will be taking up the role of entrepreneur-in-residence at London-based venture capital firm Index Ventures.

This is a great scoop for Index, who will now have contained within their team someone who has been at the coal face of UK start-ups and has the experience to bring some great advice to current and future portfolio companies.

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Beyond that, all signs point towards Silva wanting to start up his own venture and use all the contacts and wisdom he has accumulated during his years advising the government.

I’ve tried before to entice Silva into an interview, but it seemed that the confines of Downing Street were limiting just how far he could spread his entrepreneurial message. And it seems, even now, that is the case.

The Tech City Investment Organisation has come out to praise Silva for his contribution and said, ‘When you have a passion for entrepreneurship like Rohan and spend as much time working with start-ups as he has in building Tech City, moving form championing those businesses to creating one is a natural next step.’

Whatever happens, and I hope that Silva will be free for an interview soon, we haven’t seen the last of him. It may well be that by breaking free of the shackles of government, Silva will go on to become one of the serial entrepreneurs that the UK is so great at creating.

Hunter Ruthven

Bernard Williamson

Hunter was the Editor for GrowthBusiness.co.uk from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.

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