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Startup Britain and the tools of the trade

Small business numbers are at an all-time high – there are 5.4m currently in operation in the UK and the numbers continue to rise year-on-year. But you'd be surprised how frustrated startup Britain is at the moment.
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The UK is renowned for being a nation of entrepreneurs – you’d be hard-pressed to meet anyone who isn’t sitting on an idea that they wouldn’t love to bring to market. However, broadband, one of the biggest tools startup Britain has to offer, is still causing businesses to suffer.

We recently surveyed 3,000 Brits to get insight into exactly how many frustrated would-be entrepreneurs there are, the main obstacles holding them back and what tools they feel they need to succeed. You may be unsurprised to learn that connectivity has a strong role to play!

The Brits that are feeling most entrepreneurial are aged 45-54 (38 per cent would like to start their own business). Millennials are feeling the least entrepreneurial – only 22 per cent of Brits aged 18-24 are considering starting a business next year.

The key drivers prompting startup Britain is extra income (39 per cent), childcare (36 per cent) and a desire to be the big boss (25 per cent). Money is the key issue holding people back (34 per cent), followed by confusion on tax liability (23 per cent) and time needed to start the company in the first place (17 per cent).

When asked what the most important tool would be to start their company, the most important tool was fast broadband (44 per cent), followed by computing equipment (25 per cent). Over half of the respondents (59 per cent) said they would initially set a business up from home, so the home broadband connection has never been more important.

Small businesses are the lifeblood of the UK economy. The fact that the most important tool is fast, reliable broadband means that its role cannot ever be understated in the success of startup Britain. The good news is that the government is waking up to this – in the Autumn Statement the government announced that it is creating a £400m digital infrastructure fund to support the rollout of full fibre broadband – which can enable gigabit broadband speeds; truly world-class connectivity.

We couldn’t have been happier with the news. Investment in pure fibre networks is a no-brainer with our increasingly digital dependent economy. Plus giving frustrated would-be entrepreneurs the tool that they feel will most help support their business is a win/win for all involved – but ultimately it’s our economy that will benefit the most.

This article is part of our Real Business Broadband campaign, which seeks to provide a mouthpiece for business leaders to vocalise the broadband issues preventing their businesses from reaching full potential. We’d love to hear your take on the debate and where you think the UK needs to make drastic changes. Get in touch via email (shane.schutte@realbusiness.co.uk) or join in on the action using #rbBroadband.

Image: Shutterstock

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About Author

Steve Holford

Steve Holford is chief customer officer at Hyperoptic – the UK's leading Fibre-to-the-Premises provider. Steve has over a decade of experience marketing both B2B and B2C Internet solutions. And at Hyperoptic he oversees all aspects of the company's marketing operations and customer acquisition programmes.

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