The emergence of a venture capital industry in the United Kingdom, which contained fewer than twenty firms prior to 1979 compared with over 150 firms 10 years later (Lloyd 1989), is just one aspect of the emergence, or re-emergence, of an 'enterprise culture' in the United Kingdom during the 1980s - the decade of 'Thatcherism' (Riddell 1989). The number of business start-ups has increased from 158,000 in 1980 to 230,000 in 1988 (British Business 1989). Self-employment has increased from 1.9 million in 1979 (8 per cent of total employment) to 3.2 million in 1988 (12 per cent of total employment) (Hakim 1989). Attitudes to enterprise have also changed. The professions and administration have traditionally been the most socially acceptable occupations in the United Kingdom. The Bolton Report commented in 1971 on 'the climate of opinion ... [was] ... antipathetic to ... small business' and 'the social standing of the independent businessman . . . may now be lower than it has ever been' (HM Government 1971: 24). But only a decade later Bannock - a member of the Committee - claimed that it is now 'no longer a disgrace for a clever young person to set up in business instead of going into the civil service, teaching or a large company' (Bannock 1981). Similarly, during the 1980s many of the constraints on the formation and growth of new firms, in such areas as the availability of finance, premises, information and advice, and enterprise training, have been alleviated - partly through direct provision by local and central government and central government encouragement of the private sector to playa greater role. Thus, the clearing banks, which have traditionally been unsympathetic to small businesses, have introduced a variety of special lending schemes (NEDC 1986), in addition to participation in the

government sponsored Loan Guarantee Scheme (Harrison and Mason 1986). Many large firms have also contributed to the funding and staffing of enterprise agencies, of which there are now over 300, which provide free business information, advice, and counselling to small business owner-managers and potential new firm founders (Mason 1987a). The limited supply of small premises (Coopers and Lybrand/Drivers Jonas 1980) has been enhanced by the greater willingness of property developers to build small premises and incubator units (Ambler and Kennett 1985).