Why 2018 is the perfect time to start a business in the UK

Famous entrepreneurs from Touker Suleyman to Liz Earle MBE share why the UK offers a vibrant start-up landscape, from funding to a culture of innovation

How many times have you thought about starting your own business?

Working hard to push an offering that you’re passionate about and answering only to yourself might sound like a dream, but it’s also a daunting prospect. From expense to lack of know-how to the inherent risk and insecurity, there are plenty of reasons you might stop yourself from going for it.

Fortunately, there are even more reasons why – if you’re truly serious about starting a business – right now is THE best time to take the plunge.

The country’s start-up landscape is ever growing and diversifying, and 2017 was a ground-breaking year for it, with a record 5.7 million small businesses in existence in the UK. These were responsible for £1.4 trillion in turnover and contributed a huge 48% of private sector employment.

Aside from these promising stats, there is also now plenty of help available to aspiring entrepreneurs.

In January 2018, Startups launched its #BeYourOwnBoss2018 campaign to help people take action and make steps towards launching their own businesses.

As part of this campaign, we ask that wannabe business owners pledge to get started on a business idea in 2018. In return, we send tailored tools and guidance that will help them along their start-up journey, and we will also be following and promoting many of their business stories.

But why should you make the pledge now? In order to inspire you, we spoke to prominent entrepreneurs about why 2018 is the best year yet to start a business in the UK.

These included Touker Suleyman, Dragons’ Den investor and CEO and chairman of Hawes & Curtis; skincare mogul Liz Earle MBE, founder of Liz Earle Wellbeing; Cassandra Stavrou, co-founder of PROPERCORN; Jon Wright, co-founder of juice giant Innocent Drinks as well as JamJar Investments; Andy Tait, co-founder of Collider; Paul Lindley, founder of children’s food behemoth Ella’s Kitchen; and Simon Calver, founding partner at BGF Ventures.

In this video, these entrepreneurs – whose success is renowned, whose companies are household names and who most certainly have their fingers on the UK business scene’s pulse – were asked why the UK is now a fantastic place to start a business. Their answers include…

More access to funding

According to our interviewees, obtaining start-up funding – while still a challenge – is now more likely than ever, with the UK home to a growing infrastructure of investors who are keen to back small businesses.

Interest rates are low, giving start-ups access to better deals, while tax incentives “make it relatively straightforward to get investment”.

An ecosystem of support

As the business world becomes more aware of the value of mentoring, there are increasing numbers of successful business owners, investment professionals and more who are encouraging start-ups to reach out to them, eager to offer guidance and advice.

Great export opportunities

The UK’s position on the world stage is one that’s conducive to overseas growth; our time zone reaches backwards and forwards, and English “tends to be the language of business”, putting UK start-ups in a good position to go global.

Meanwhile, we constantly see unique ideas coming in from other countries, and entrepreneurs can explore these and contribute to them with their own offerings, observing what works in particular markets and what doesn’t.

A culture of innovation

The UK has fostered a culture that’s supportive of entrepreneurs and their ideas, inventions and innovations, and starting a business is now regarded as a truly aspirational calling.

As quality UK universities turn out graduates who are eager to contribute their talents to emerging businesses, the country continues to foster and encourage technological and industrial advancements.

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