Young people in Europe amongst the most pessimistic about starting a business, report claims

Youth Business International poll reveals fear of failure is putting off young entrepreneurs

Young people in Europe are amongst the least confident in the world about starting a business, with less than a fifth believing good opportunities exist, according to a new report.

The poll, commissioned by non-profit network Youth Business International and the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, found that just 17.3% of young Europeans felt there were good opportunities available and that they have the skills and knowledge required to start a business – compared with almost two-thirds of respondents in sub-Saharan Africa.

Youngsters in the Asia-Pacific and South Asia region were the only group to score lower in the poll, albeit only marginally at 16.8%.

The poll also found that those aged 18-35 in the EU were more likely than anywhere else in the world to cite fear of failure as an obstacle to starting a business – 41.9% cited this reason as a major barrier compared to 24% in Africa and 27.7% in Latin America.

Despite the pessimistic outlook about success in enterprise, 61.2% of young people in Europe still thought starting a business was a good career choice in principle. However, this figure was still substantially lower than their peers in Latin America (74.9%), the Middle East and North Africa (75.5%) and sub-Saharan Africa (76.5%).

Andrew Davenport, chief executive of Youth Business International (YBI), said: “This report suggests that young people around the world have the will, but not the means, to become entrepreneurs. It’s worrying that whilst many young people do see good opportunities for starting up a business, most of those in Europe do not.

“At a time when we need more new businesses to help drive our economy forward, we want people to come together to support and encourage entrepreneurship in any way they can.”

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