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Britain’s entrepreneurial future is at risk

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Worrying new figures from Virgin Media Pioneers show that while over half of young people (52 per cent) have considered setting up their own business, only seven per cent have actually done so. Why?

Virgin Media Pioneers’ report, Disruptive Influence, brings together some of Britain’s greatest entrepreneurs to get their advice on how Britain can foster entrepreneurship in the younger generation.

Currently, of the 270,000 businesses established each year, only nine per cent are started by people under 35, despite a quarter saying it would be their dream job.

Worries about having the right contacts or experience are stopping many from achieving their ambitions, as is Britain’s current risk-averse climate.

“Now, more than ever, we need entrepreneurs to stimulate the economy,” says Peter Jones, the BBC Dragon, and chairman of the National Enterprise Academy and Enterprise UK. “Unlocking the potential of Britain’s young entrepreneurial talent is essential to the future success and competitiveness of our economy.”

So what’s the answer? The report suggests that to achieve “disruptive influence” a UK startup needs:

  • Urgency: There is a “once in a generation” opportunity for aspirant entrepreneurs to be successful and change the commercial face of Britain by taking advantage of recession.
  • Change: As the government looks to develop the concept of the Big Society, with a smaller state and more active citizenship, it will need entrepreneurs to be a key agent of change.
  • Action: To lead the recovery, entrepreneurs need to be bigger, faster and smarter. This doesn’t only mean more entrepreneurs, it means better businesses with more access to training, advice and mentoring.

Commenting on the report, its authors, Nick Giles and Michael Hayman, who are also co-founders of Seven Hills PR, add:

“Britain’s under-30s are thirsty for knowledge, contacts and know-how – the characteristics of many great entrepreneurs. They’ve grown up with the internet, they’re immersed in social media, and they have the clear potential to harness this understanding to build successful businesses. But this needs help and commitment if that potential is to be realised.”

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Britain’s future depends on fostering entrepreneurship. Britain needs more entrepreneurs, and the key to making this happen is to encourage younger people to get involved in business.

What’s your solution?

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