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18-24 year-old entrepreneurs stymied by lack of finance, skills and contacts

Next generation of UK entrepreneurs have grand aspirations, with 21% believing they will run global organisations that “significantly change the world”

While almost 33% of 18 to 24 year-olds in the UK have started or are considering starting a business, 50% say they have been hampered in their attempts to actually get their business idea off the ground.

Research from the New Entrepreneurs Foundation (NEF), which surveyed 230 18 to 24 year-olds, found that 61% of young people view a lack of finance as the biggest barrier to starting up, followed by a lack of business knowledge (40%), a lack of time (32%), and a lack of good contacts (28%).

The study also found that individuals in this age bracket were three times as likely to write a business plan than any other age group, and four times more likely to have undertaken an apprenticeship in a bid to jump start their business ambitions (16% compared to 4%).

12% of the young people surveyed had joined university business societies, 25% had sought business advice from family, and 6% had made use of start-ups accelerators and incubators.

Those young people currently running businesses were found to be highly ambitious when it came to the scope of their enterprises.

In fact, 21% said they see themselves running global organisations that will “significantly change the world” while 82% shared the view that they could make a lot of money as an entrepreneur. However, the same number said they understood that entrepreneurship is a career gamble.

Commenting on the findings, Neeta Patel, CEO of NEF, said: “Even in the turbulent times we live in, it is good to see that young people are enthusiastic about creating a business. However it is clear to see that they are stumbling before they can even get a chance to begin.

“We must give these young people the very best chance to succeed by helping them jump over these hurdles.”

Henry Williams
Henry Williams

Henry has been writing for since 2015, covering everything from business finance and web builders to tax and red tape. He’s also contributed to many of our industry-renowned annual indexes, including Startups 100 and Young Guns, and created a number of the site’s popular how to guides. Before joining the team, he reviewed films for a culture website, and still harbours ambitions of being a screenwriter.


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  1. I employed a really good intern from Sussex University who then went on to successfully start his own e-commerce business. I put his case study up on my website too to encourage others. Everybody wins!