Londoners Want to be their Own Boss: Over a Quarter Start-up Ambitions

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With more than half a million new businesses being created across the country each year, Studio Graphene has commissioned an independent survey among over 2,000 UK adults (of which over 500 are from Greater London) to find out just how many people harbour ambitions to start their own company. It found:

  • Over a quarter of people in London (27%) say they want to start their own business – slightly above the UK average of 26%
  • Millennials (45%) and parents with children aged 18 and under (41%) are particularly likely to hold this desire
  • 17% of Londoners said that in the past five years they have had an idea for a business they wanted to start but abandoned their plans when they found out someone else had already acted on their idea (above UK average of 13%)
  • Over one in six (18%) people in the capital also said they had seen a new product being advertised in the past year that they had previously wanted to create themselves (well above the national average of 12%)

So why do people not follow through with their ambitions to launch a business? Studio Graphene’s research revealed:

  • 46% of the Greater London population said they feel that they lack the skills and knowledge to be an entrepreneur – equal to that of the UK at large
  • Women (51%) are more likely than men (40%) to feel this way
  • Furthermore, more than half (52%) of London-based respondents said they would not know how to fund their business if they were to start one (just above the UK average of 50%)
  • This is a particular issue for millennials – 64% of 18-34 year olds said it is a problem
  • And finally, 17% of adults in the capital said that they want to launch a new technology product but do not know how to go about developing the tech – higher than the 13% recorded across the UK

According to the latest figures, 589,000 new companies were established in the UK last year. It represents a 22% increase from 2012, when 484,000 businesses were formed. In total, over the past five years, the country has witnessed the creation of almost 3.5 million startups.

In light of this wave of entrepreneurship sweeping the nation, London-based digital agency Studio Graphene wanted to uncover how many people not currently running their own business had ambitions to do so – it commissioned an independent, nationally representative survey among more than 2,000 UK adults to find out.

The research revealed that 27% of people in London want to start their own business, and it was even more common among millennials (45%) and parents with children aged 18 or under (41%). In fact, 17% said that in the past five years they have had an idea for a new business but abandoned plans to start it when they found out someone else had already acted on their idea. Furthermore, 18% said they had seen a new product being advertised in the past year that they had previously wanted to create themselves.

In terms of what is holding people back, Studio Graphene’s study showed 46% of UK adults based in Greater London said they feel that they lack the skills and knowledge to be an entrepreneur – women (51%) are more likely than men (40%) to feel this way. On top of this, 52% of respondents in the capital said they would not know how to fund their business if they were to start one; a particular issue for millennials (64%). And finally, 17% said that they want to launch a new technology product but do not know how to go about developing the tech.

Commenting on the findings, Ritam Gandhi, director and founder of Studio Graphene, said:

“We’ve seen a huge rise in the number of people in London starting their own businesses over the past five years. And today’s research shows that this trend is likely to continue for some time yet, with a significant proportion of people in the capital having ambitions to become their own boss. This should be celebrated – startups are driving innovation in our day-to-day lives, while London’s vibrant startup community is also contributing to economic growth

“However, we’ve also uncovered that many people in London are coming up with ideas for new businesses only to see that someone has beaten them to it. But competition shouldn’t be a deterrent – as they say in business, you must ‘pivot’ and create a new niche for your company. And for those who fear they lack the required skills or know-how to launch a startup, it’s important to remember that there are vast numbers of people they can approach for support to help get their business off the ground; that’s what makes London such a great place for budding entrepreneurs.”

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