Never been a better time to start a small business
Britain’s entrepreneurial culture is developing faster than ever this year meaning that there has never been a better time to start a new business.
Last year, more than 580,000 new companies were started in Britain, and it has been suggested that this figure could top 600,000 by the end of 2015. Moreover, it seems as if Britain’s small businesses are finding it easier to secure the funding they need. Recent research by Radius Equity showed that amount of funding raised by UK start-ups via the government-backed Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme topped £163m last year; almost double the £85.9m raised by business owners in 2012 to 2013.
Confidence is clearly returning to the small business sector and most surveys are now showing optimism among small companies rising, in some cases to the highest levels for many years.
But it is the increase in the numbers of people – particularly young people – looking to start up their own enterprise that is especially exciting. The latest RBS Youth Enterprise Tracker showed that 60% of 18-30 year olds aim to start a business, compared to 38% of the total adult population. Young people who understand the digital landscape are creating a new generation of online and offline businesses that leverage the potential that technology is offering. Because they have grown up in a digital world, our young people know the potential that it has to help start up businesses inexpensively, keep overheads low and give new enterprises the best possible chance of success. More and more are leaving education and looking to take the entrepreneurial route rather than bang their heads against brick walls trying to get openings in larger organisations.
But, the research stated that while business ambitions are highest for under-30s, only 8% of these putative entrepreneurs are actually in the process of starting a business. This means that even more support – particularly peer-to-peer support – needs to be made available. After all nobody understands the challenges particular to a small business start-up than somebody who has been through that process themselves.
Although business failure no longer seems to have quite the stigma it used to have
and more people are using that experience to create more sustainable businesses
second time around, still more needs to be done to underpin the viability of new businesses. Whilst more than half of new businesses still don’t survive beyond their first five years, we need to work harder as a country to provide small business support from the outset so that many of the problems encountered after the initial launch can be foreseen and minimised.
But overall the prospects are not just good for business owners but also for the economy as a whole. The UK’s five million SMEs are vital to the economy, as they
are at the heart of economic growth, providing 60% of private sector jobs and
half of private sector turnover. If each of them were to create just one new
job we would eradicate unemployment in this country. That’s got to be something