Young Britons Less Likely To Start Own Business

Telefonica Poll Shows Just One In Five 18-30s Seek Self-Employment

13.10.2014

Steven Beahan, Partner | +44 (0)114 294 7868

Britons are lagging behind the rest of the world when it comes to young people's attitudes to start-ups, research has found.

A poll by O2's parent company Telefonica of people aged 18-30 around the world established that only a fifth of Britons would seek to set up their own small business, much less than elsewhere, BBC Newsbeat reports.

Latin America was one place with a much higher ratio, as close to a third had ambitions of starting their own enterprise.

However, speaking to Newsbeat, many youngsters said there are good reasons to start up a business, with the use of computer science being widely cited by attendees of teenage entrepreneur event TEDxTeen in London as a key skill that can help a small firm work.

Teenage entrepreneurs include 17-year-old James Anderson, who said his inspiration came from people like Richard Branson, Jimmy Wales and Stephen Fry.

Rather than go to university, he has set out to "change the face of retail" with a digital project that fuses with the physical world to create "a retail store full of experiences you can indulge in". He said his young age works to his advantage as "it means more people listen and they're generally more supportive".

The youngster started coding when he was seven and his innovation was a story matched by a number of other attendees of the TEDxTeen event, which is being held outside the US for the first time.

Others include 23-year-old Hannah Catmur, who used a grant from O2's Think Big programme to develop a new app called Pocket Explorers to encourage children to spend more time outdoors.

She said youngsters should not hold back from setting up companies, commenting: "Just start, don't worry about failing, because you'll learn anyway."

The examples of the youngsters may indicate a changing tide for the starting up of small firms in the UK.

According to the Start Up Britain tracker, which is run by the Centre For Entrepreneurs, over 450,000 new companies have been formed in the UK so far this year.

Expert Opinion
While this research has shown that less young people in the UK are establishing small businesses compared to their counterparts overseas, other research such as that by the Centre For Entrepreneurs has highlighted that the number of new firms being set up in the UK still remains high.

"Young people with business skills and ambition should not ignore the idea of developing their own operations, particularly when they have generated good ideas which they feel are capable of fulfilling a need in their chosen marketplace. However, it should also be remembered that people of any age can come up with the ideas and drive needed to start their own business.

"One thing that all entrepreneurs do share though is the need to always seek external advice from specialists who can help them as their organisation develops. Key support in particular can come from legal experts, who can advise when taking on new staff, moving to new premises or striking important deals to drive further growth."
Steven Beahan, Partner