Hot Arctic Kebabs – by Brian Binley MP

portrait-brianbinley-23.jpgCan you imagine any Government believing that a kebab shop should be set up in the Arctic?  Of course you cant.  They would turn it down out of hand!

But that is exactly what an enterprising middle aged Iranian achieved.

Mr Kazem Ariaiwand moved to Spitsbergen after a failed asylum attempt in Norway some five years ago and last year set up a business selling kebabs from an old military van in Longyearbyen on the island of Spitsbergen 300 miles off the Northern tip of Norway.         

And would you believe it – his venture has been such a success amongst the settlements 2000 inhabitants that his products are now challenging the more traditional fare of seal and minke whale meat.

Now isn’t that an inspiring story and doesn’t it make the point that there is no formula for successful business.  It really is about the individual who has the courage to take a risk and make it work.

And would any of the 3000 different business start – up schemes operating in the UK have supported Mr Ariaiwand in his project if he applied to them?  I very much doubt it! 

Indeed, the Audit Commission looked at the myriad of Government schemes in 2006 and produced a damning indictment which underlined a degree of bureaucracy which could well have hampered the creation of small businesses in the UK rather than encourage them.

More importantly, it found that Government had not even bothered to check out the effectiveness of any one of those 3000 schemes. 

That is why Mr Ariaiwand’s story inspires me so much – it reminds me that it isn’t bureaucratic Government projects which matter but the spirit of the entrepreneurs themselves.  And long may that survive!

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