Britain’s entrepreneurs are getting younger

The number of under-35s starting a business has increased by 70% since 2006, according to a study by DueDil and Enterprise Nation, a small business network. In 2006, 145,104 companies were founded by under-35s whereas last year the figure increased to 247,049.

The rise is not just down to the difficult jobs market. Entrepreneurship has become a choice rather than a last resort for many youngsters. “It’s not about a lack of jobs at all. Often they already have one,” said Emma Jones, head of Enterprise Nation.

In the two years since its launch, Start Up Loans has lent more than £20m to 18 to 24 year olds. But, like the older generation, youngsters can’t do it all on their own. “Good advice must be made more easily accessible to them. What we hear most often is that they need a mentor to guide them through the ups and downs,” said Jones.

“We want to see more people of all ages starting and leading businesses, and the barriers that can face young people who want to start out on this road must be torn down,” said Chuka Umunna, the shadow secretary for business. “Schemes like Start Up Loans have had a positive impact but we must go further and faster…it is crucial young people are engaged at school with the idea of starting their own business and that this is normalised as an option for school leavers in the same way as university or apprenticeship,” said Umunna.

One long-running source of support is the Prince’s Trust. Since 1983 it has supplied grants, loans and mentoring to 18 to 30 year olds.

“Young people can achieve amazing things with the right support,” said Martina Milburn, chief executive of the Prince’s Trust. “Too often, the young people I meet have never had anyone to believe in them, and lack the self-confidence,” said Milburn. Last year the charity assisted 58% more young people through its start-up schemes than it did in 2010.

For more information please view original article: The Sunday Times, 09/11/14, Business Section, Small Business News, P12. Kiki Loizou.

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