Generation enterprise: The rise of young entrepreneurs

We look at the growing trend of young people to start up in business

Anyone below the age of thirty who thinks they cannot start their own business should read this. Startups.co.uk find out about ‘Generation Enterprise’.

Increasing numbers of young people are switching on to the idea of starting up their own businesses and defying the traditional view that before going it alone it is wise to spend years in industry learning the ropes before embarking on a business adventure

Chris Humphries, Director General of the City and Guilds, an organisation behind a wide range of practical qualifications, thinks that we are witnessing a big change in the societies approach to work. He said: “We are starting to see the emergence of ‘generation enterprise’ – young people with drive and ambition who want it all, who want to set their own agenda and fulfil their potential.”

He argues that the under 30s are entering and soaring up the Sunday Times Rich List at an unprecedented rate.

“Owning your own business is no longer the preserve of older employees with decades of work experience, starting a business is highly appealing to today’s youth who long to be their own boss and set their own agenda,” he says. “It is reassuring to see that many young people today are extremely ambitious and possess real entrepreneurial spirit.”

Humphries cites the example of TV chef Jamie Oliver who began his glittering career with a C&G catering qualification and as being typical of the new ‘can-do’ generation emerging in the UK.

A C&G survey of 16-24 year olds has found that 49% have a ‘strong desire’ to set up their own business and with the main reason being that they would rather not bow down to the demands of a boss.

Also, about one in ten want to get into business in the next year with about 35% saying they want to start within the next five years.

Young people describe themselves as ambitious, non-conformist and want to be millionaires. Seventy per cent say that they ‘want to be in control of their lives’ and this means having no other boss than themselves.

Also young people are much more likely to be inspired by the likes of Jamie Oliver and Anita Roddick of this world than they are by P Diddy or Simon Cowell. Other high-profile millionaires such as Richard Branson and Easyjet’s Stelios Hadji Ioannou are also greatly admired by the coming generation.

However, arguably more importantly, is the fact that nearly half of young people know someone under the age of 30 who has already gone it alone. Providing them with a great opportunity to gleam valuable tips and insights about business from someone in their immediate circle.

Other developments bode well for the development of young entrepreneurs.

In the 2005 Budget, Chancellor Gordon Brown expressed his desire to have enterprise teaching in the school curriculum, an aim is expected to be achieved by 2006.

Sir Alan Sugar has created an enterprise college to pass on his skills to a new generation of entrepreneurs. Indeed the growing popularity of TV shows such as the Apprentice, in which the Amstrad founder starred, and Dragon’s Den are making entrepreneurship appear more attractive and is raising the profile of the go-it-alone business person.

The Prince’s Trust is also a big backer of young people in business and has helped over 60,000 under 30-year-olds to start their own enterprises. Similarly the Shell LiveWire Awards have also played a part in the development of new entrepreneurs. This is all good news for the UK economy, adds Humphries, and we should encourage more and more young people to push forward with their own business plans.

He adds: “It is vital that we encourage our young people to fulfil their vision by giving them as much support as possible as this will definitely benefit them and the British economy.”

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