One in three of 18 to 24-year-olds have started or are considering starting a business and they are three times as likely to write a business plan than any other age group, according to new research. However, the study by the New Entrepreneurs Foundation (NEF) also found that 50 per cent of these young professionals are struggling to get their entrepreneurial dreams off the ground due to poor access to finance, a lack of business skills and having the right contacts.
A generation of dreamers and optimists
While the study recognises the barriers holding some would-be entrepreneurs back, NEF also found that those aged between 18 and 24 who have thought about or started their own business are resourceful in finding new ways to make it work. Young founders are four times more likely than all UK adults to have done an apprenticeship as a way to help start setting up their own business (16 per cent vs 4 per cent) and have used joining university business societies, getting advice from family, and using accelerators and incubators as alternative ways to help them progress.
And when it comes to their hopes and aspirations, the study found that the next generation of business leaders are optimistic about the changes they can make to the world. A fifth of young UK adults see themselves running global organisations that significantly changes the world, but they are also wary of the risks involved in doing so.
Wary of risks
The study showed 85 per cent of young UK adults understand that entrepreneurship is a career gamble, but 82 per cent believe that they can make a lot of money as an entrepreneur.
NEF CEO Neeta Patel sees these results as promising for the UK’s entrepreneurial future. “Even in the turbulent times we live in, it is good to see that young people are enthusiastic about creating a business. However it is clear to see that they are stumbling before they can even get a chance to begin,” she said.
“While 30 per cent of young adults are writing business plans and almost 10 per cent suggest they will start a business in the year ahead, it is the lack of access to finance, business skills and networks that is holding them back.”
The foundation’s objective is to provide bright young-aspiring entrepreneurs with hands-on work experience together with a formal learning and development programme in entrepreneurial start-up skills, personal coaching, business mentoring and access to business networks. The NEF alumni network is a huge reason for its success in providing work experience for new cohorts to bulk up their skills and contacts.