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Self-employment summit

RSA Event


RSA House, London

  • Employment
  • Enterprise

A high-profile one-day summit exploring the causes and consequences of the boom in self-employment.

Of all the economic trends seen in recent years, few have done more to catch the public imagination than the growth in self-employment – and for good reason. The number of people who work for themselves has grown by almost 30 per cent since 2000, with the result that 1 in 7 of the workforce now answer to themselves.
Yet despite its significance, there is still much that we do not know about the rise in self-employment. Why are so many people starting up in business? What role has new technology played in the boom? Is the growth in self-employment a good or bad for the UK economy? And, perhaps most importantly, what can policymakers and others do to help the self-employed flourish?
In a bid to answer these questions, the RSA, Google and Etsy will bring together leading thinkers for a day-long event of panel debates and stimulating discussions.
The Self-employment Summit will take place at the RSA from 10:30 – 17:30 on Tuesday 3rd February 2015. Refreshments will be served throughout the day, and the event will be followed by networking drinks.


10:30 – 10:40

Introduction by chair, Anthony Painter, director of Institutional Reform, RSA

10:40 – 11:00
Opening remarks, Adam Lent, director, RSA Action Research Centre 

11:00 – 11:45
Session #1: Solving the self-employment puzzle
Panellists: Emma Jones, Enterprise Nation; Tom Hodgkinson, The Idler; Steven Toft, Flip Chart Fairy Tales blogger; and Patricia van den Akker, Design Trust
Chair: Sarah O’Connor, Financial Times

12:15 – 13:00
Session #2: Entrepreneurship in a digital age
Panellists: Nicole Vanderbilt, Etsy; Callum McGeoch, Livity; and Jon Steinberg, Google
Chair: Anthony Painter, RSA

Watch the replay from session #2
13:45 – 14:15
A day-in-the-life ‘in conversation’ session hosted by Peter Day, BBC global business correspondent

Participants to include: Steve Coles, social entrepreneur and business consultant; Fiona Crawford, Helter Skelter; John-Michael Sookias, Twenty Something London; Eleanor Callaghan, Dig for Victory
14:15 – 15:00
Session #3: Searching for a new kind of capitalism
Panellists: Geoff Mulgan, Nesta; Will Hutton, Hertford College, Oxford; and Vicky Pryce, Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR)
Chair: Adam Lent, RSA

Watch the replay from session #3
15:45 – 16:30
Session #4: Improving the living standards of the self-employed
Panellists: Rohan Silva, former adviser to the PM; Mark Littlewood, IEA, Nida Broughton, SMF and Ben Dellot, RSA
Chair: Polly Toynbee, The Guardian
16:30 – 17:30
Session #5: Question time
Panellists: Justin Tomlinson, MP for North Swindon and the Conservatives' Small Business Ambassador; Jo Swinson, Liberal Democrat MP, and Stella Creasy, Labour MP
Chair: Matthew Taylor, RSA Chief Executive
Closing remarks: Ben Dellot, RSA

In partnership with Google and Etsy

Related events

  • Self-employment summit

    RSA House, London

    The RSA hosts a one-day summit, in partnership with Google and Etsy, bringing together leading thinkers to explore the causes and consequences of the boom in self-employment.