Social enterprise gains support

Two thirds of London commuters would like to set up their own business, but it wasn’t all about personal gain, with nearly a third keen to set up a business that made a positive impact on society.

The new new research came from Business Link for London, ahead of Social Enterprise Day on 16th November 2006.

The survey of 425 commuters identified how many considered themselves potential entrepreneurs and what barriers they perceived were preventing them from setting up their own business.

Of the respondents one in five (21 per cent) were unhappy or very unhappy with their current job but 44 per cent saw lack of start-up capital as the biggest barrier to doing so. One in five (21 per cent) blame the fear of failure for not taking a risk on their new business idea in the first place.

Commenting on the findings, Business Link communications manager Connie Sprague says: ‘It’s encouraging to see that people are becoming more aware of the positive social impact that business can have. With high profile social enterprises such as Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant, The Big Issue and The Eden Project we are seeing an increase in the number of businesses that are motivated beyond the bottom line.’

She continues, ‘We work with thousands of London based entrepreneurs to help them get their business idea off the ground. However, we find that one of the biggest barriers is often a psychological one. Sadly, many new business ideas wither and die before they’ve seen the light of day because people are afraid of failure.’

Figures from the Department of Trade and Industry reveal that there are around 55,000 social enterprises in the UK, employing over 775,000 people and contributing £8.4 billion per year to the economy.

For more information on social enterprise visit Social Enterprise UK report lifts the lid on the future of business

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