One in seven adults now plan to start a business – NatWest

A report published by NatWest has found that one in seven adults now plan to become an entrepreneur, an increase of 50% since the bank’s 2020 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM).

The bank partnered with universities and business schools across the UK to interview over 9,400 adults between the ages of 18 and 80 for the report, spanning 43 economies and covering two-thirds of the global population. Aston Business School, University of Strathclyde, Ulster University and Queen’s University Belfast collated the data in partnership with NatWest, producing the 2021 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report as the largest authoritative study of entrepreneurship.

Key findings reveal that 18% of people surveyed quit their business due to the pandemic, entrepreneurs seeking informal investment from friends and family increased to 6.6% in 2020 from 2.9% a decade earlier, and despite the positive statistics, this data suggests the number of existing entrepreneurs in the UK dropped by nearly 25% during 2020.

This data also shows that clear differences based on demographics and ethnicity continue to exist. BAME communities have nearly double the number of existing entrepreneurs at 14% compared with 7.5% in the overall population. People aged 18-29 are more likely to start their own business, with older people, aged 55-64, are much less likely to do so.

Andrew Harrison, head of business banking at NatWest Group says: “The findings from this year’s GEM report present a mixed picture of the UK’s SME landscape, showing that whilst the pandemic has clearly had a detrimental impact on overall numbers of entrepreneurs, increasing numbers of young people are now planning to start their own business. We are hopeful that this significant uptick in future intent, combined with an economy that has shown robust signs of recovery, suggest the worst of the downturn has now passed.

“There is a lot of work still to be done to address the gaps in the wider environment to ensure future entrepreneurs are given the best opportunity to thrive, and this report highlights where the public and private sectors can come together to make a real difference,” Harrison continues.

The report also outlines the key areas where conditions need to improve to give future UK entrepreneurs a stronger chance of growth and success. The area cited as most in need of improvement is entrepreneurial education at school age, followed by government entrepreneurship programmes, improved government policy on business support, and better sharing of research and development.

Small business minister, Paul Scully MP, adds: “NatWest’s new report shows the UK’s entrepreneurial spirit is firing on all cylinders and the Government is working around the clock to ensure our innovators and budding entrepreneurs get the right support to start and grow a business.”


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