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Younger and older Brits spell big opportunity for UK start-up business drive

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New research, analysed by Professor Marlow and compiled into the ‘Avon Get Started Report’, examined the attitudes of 2,000 women and men under 25 and over 50 in order to unlock the untapped economic potential of more diverse business owners and entrepreneurs. 

The report shows that this collective group, which accounts for a third of the population, needs more focus amongst government and business leaders when presenting start up business employment opportunities and role models to harness these untapped ‘cold groups.’

While there is an appetite for business ownership amongst under-25s and over-50s, media and social portrayals of entrepreneurs strongly support the notion of middle-aged men as successful role models. 

Although 48 per cent of respondents say they could see themselves setting up a business at some point, almost half of women believe they will be taken less seriously than men as entrepreneurs. Nearly a third of over-50s also believe they are too old to start a business. And, only four per cent of total respondents were able to name a successful female entrepreneur, while only two per cent were able to name a successful entrepreneur under 25.

Professor Marlow’s report outlines various solutions for business leaders, local and national government and professional services that could help these untapped age groups to become mainstream entrepreneurs. 

  • Increased resources must be invested in entrepreneurship education to encourage more young people to the table;
  • Alternative role models must be celebrated to challenge existing stereotypes of the ‘typical entrepreneur’;
  • Successful entrepreneurs must play their part as mentors for those seeking entry into self-employment;
  • Regional support policies must not take a one size fits all approach to supporting self-starters; and
  • Government initiatives must target under-represented groups, drawing upon life skills and experience.

More importantly, the Professor believes that self-employment opportunities, particularly those within the direct selling model, could be a ‘turn-key’ for both groups to be economically resilient, with 52 per cent surveyed believing direct selling is a more supportive way to start up a business.

Linda Clayton-Evans, sales director at Avon UK, said: “The under-25s and over-50s have a strong business desire; both groups represent a significant proportion of our Representative base. The direct selling model proves itself time and time again because people are attracted to low cost, easy entry business models with an active support network. Our research provides ample encouragement for government, funding sources and business support services to sit up and take notice of the potential that these two groups offer.”

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