One in seven adults plan to become entrepreneurs

Research from NatWest found that 50 per cent more people want to become entrepreneurs compared to pre-pandemic levels

One in seven adults now plan on becoming entrepreneurs, up 50 per cent from 2019, according to a report from NatWest.

The bank partnered with business schools and universities across the UK to put together the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2020. They interviewed 9,400 adults between the ages of 18 and 80.  

This growth has come about despite data saying that the number of existing entrepreneurs dropped by 25 per cent over the course of 2020.  

Clear differences within age and ethnicity were also evident. Younger people aged 18-29 were more likely to start their own businesses, while 55-64-year-olds were the least likely to do so. BAME communities have double the number of existing entrepreneurs (14 per cent) compared to the overall population (7.5 per cent).

Mark Hart, 50th anniversary professor of small business and entrepreneurship at Aston University, said: “Those ethnic-minority communities that have borne the brunt of the pandemic in terms of infection, hospitalisation and sadly deaths demonstrated their resilience by maintaining their previous levels of early-stage entrepreneurial activity (TEA rate) which were significantly higher than for the non-ethnic minority population.

“Clearly, the pandemic has had no damaging impact on the level of entrepreneurial activity by immigrants and ethnic-minorities although it has depressed it for life-long residents and the non-ethnic population.”

Comparing the conditions for entrepreneurial activity around the globe, the UK ranks in the top third of the 43 countries at number 14 – the same standard as Germany. The top three countries are Indonesia, the Netherlands and Taiwan.

The report also outlines areas, based on the opinion of 36 business experts, where conditions need to improve to give entrepreneurs a stronger chance of growth and success. Entrepreneurial education at school age was viewed as the area which most needed improvement, followed by government entrepreneurship programmes, improved government policy on business support and better sharing of research and development.

Over half (58 per cent) said that getting financial support was a major restraint in getting their business started, up from 47 per cent in 2019. Meanwhile, 34 per cent said that a lack of government programmes was a major obstacle.

>See also: 150 UK small business grants to apply for right now

“There is clearly an appetite for people to start their own businesses in the next three years and many report new opportunities because of the pandemic but they are delaying the actual decision to get the business operational,” added Hart.

Further reading

Should I go sole trader, partnership or limited company?

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Anna Jordan

Anna is Senior Reporter, covering topics affecting SMEs such as grant funding, managing employees and the day-to-day running of a business.

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