Margaret Thatcher’s Death: The Entrepreneurs’ Reaction

There’s only one headline in the UK this week, and it belongs to Maggie Thatcher. With both plaudits and vitriol being poured on the late Iron Lady, no matter what your political leaning it’s undeniably a great time to look back at her legacy, and see how entrepreneurs today felt about growing up under – arguably – the most impressive, not to mention infamous, go-getter the nation has ever seen.  


A staunch believer in the positive effect of competition, of the idea that anyone can rise from their beginnings to claim power, and of celebrating the individual rather than the society, Thatcher’s core beliefs did and will continue to split the opinion of the nation. The question is, do our greatest entrepreneurs views’ align with hers?

Richard Branson:

“I met Margaret Thatcher quite a few times during her time in government, and she was a great advocate of competition. She pushed for Virgin Atlantic to be allowed to fly from Heathrow in competition with British Airways, despite herself being quite a champion of British Airways at that stage. She allowed Malcolm Rifkind to let us get up and fly and I think if that hadn’t happened, I don’t think we’d be around today.”

Alan Sugar:

“Baroness Thatcher in the 80’s kicked started the entrepreneurial revolution that allowed chirpy chappies to succeed and not just the elite.”

John Timpson CBE, chairman of Timpson

“She made more of a difference than any other politician in my lifetime, apart from Winston Churchill. She changed the way that politicians thought about business and she did a lot for the cause of women by achieving such a lot.

Looking back today it is difficult to realise what a strangle hold the unions used to have on business. She took them on and that made a tremendous difference. She also did so much for Britain’s reputation overseas and that made her a wonderful exports earner.”


Michael Oglesby CBE, chairman of Bruntwood

“The trade unions had a strangle hold on the country and she stood up to them through a whole series of battles and brought in legislation to make this country financially governable.

There is no question that she also hastened the demise of manufacturing and heavy industry in this country, but, on the other hand, these were industries that had no future anyway.”


Charlotte Phillips (director of Babycalm)

“As a teenage girl she made me see no limits (when there were!) and Thatcherism inspired my boundless approach to entrepreneurism.”


Mark Pearson, (founder of

“While she may not have been the most popular person among some communities, I think Baroness Thatcher will be thought of highly by entrepreneurs both current and future for the doors she opened which boosted self employment and entrepreneurship.”

Alex McCann, owner of

“I run a successful business here in Manchester, but the devastation that Thatcher and the influence she had on successive prime ministers Blair and Cameron still has an effect now here in the north. Many of the issues we face today are the impact of Thatcher’s policies and simply because I’m doing OK is no reason to forget all this.”

Got an opinion about whether Thatcher’s policies were positive or negative for young entrepreneurs? Chat with us about it @enternships.

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Natasha Hodgson is the Content and Community Manager over at Enternships. She loves writing about inspiring things, and Nicolas Cage. Luckily, those two things are not mutually exclusive.

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