Business men

RBS / UnLtd report shows 36% would like to start own business

By: Cliff Prior, CEO, UnLtd
Published: Friday, September 12, 2014 - 08:31 GMT Jump to Comments

The quarterly Enterprise Tracker report produced by RBS in association with UnLtd shows that UK social entrepreneurs, keen to open for business, need more encouragement.

The UK economy is undergoing a quiet transformation with the potential for improving millions of lives for the better. Recent figures show 4.5 million people are now working for themselves. That’s 52 per cent of the recent increase in employment down to the self-employed! It seems there has rarely been a better time to start up in business.

Behind the headlines another trend is occurring. Roughly a third of people are interested in starting their own businesses, and many of these people are motivated by addressing social issues. Yet findings from the quarterly RBS Enterprise Tracker, in association with UnLtd, suggest more could be done to help people realise their entrepreneurial potential. Despite the high level of interest, only six per cent are in the process of starting their own business. This trend has been remarkably consistent since the Enterprise Tracker survey began in early 2012.

What lies behind this ‘ambition gap’? And what are the risks of not supporting people to realise their potential?

Results from the most recent quarterly Tracker survey highlight that, for one thing, more ‘everyday’ examples of business start-ups are needed if entrepreneurship is to be more appealing as a career choice. People don’t necessarily think of themselves as having entrepreneurial qualities – not because they don’t have the qualities to succeed in business, but because many people have a clichéd image of what an entrepreneur is.

When asked what five terms describe themselves and their own personal qualities, people typically used words such as ‘trustworthy’, ‘hardworking’ and ‘cautious’. Being ‘a thinker’ and ‘family orientated’ also feature highly among the qualities people say they possess and value. However, when the same people – many of whom are entrepreneurs or budding entrepreneurs themselves – were asked what five qualities typically defined an entrepreneur, they named a different set of qualities.

Respondents to the survey were most likely to associate ‘ambition’ and ‘risk-taking’ with being an entrepreneur. They also say that entrepreneurs are more likely to be ‘money-driven’ and ‘creative’. The only quality people associate with both themselves and entrepreneurs was ‘hard working’. The difference in opinion is particularly surprising considering 36% of respondents would like to start their own business or enterprise.

The survey goes on to find that when thinking about influences on their career, budding entrepreneurs tend to be inspired by people closer to home than high-profile celebrity entrepreneurs. More than a quarter cite a family member as the person who has had the most impact on their career to date, while one in 10 cites a manager or a friend. Only 2% were inspired by a celebrity.

At UnLtd we recognise that people are more likely to turn to role models in their community as a means of inspiration. Experienced social entrepreneurs who have been there and done it are uniquely placed to reach out, motivate and inspire others into action.

We’re supporting a national movement of people who can pass on their own skills and experiences gained from starting up or supporting a social venture.  We’re confident that our approach will go some way to helping to close the stubborn ambition gap.

Find out more at www.unltd.org.uk and like us at www.facebook.com/UnLtd
Join the movement at #SparkSomeGood

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Information Daily, its parent company or any associated businesses.

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