From education to employment

We should be teaching entrepreneurship in schools from as young as nine

Over half of Brits believe starting your own business is a good career choice, say @NACUE

Britain’s growing pool of young entrepreneurs are feeling confident about their prospects this year with over half (51%) feeling much more optimistic about 2020, than they were about 2019, with three-quarters (77%) feeling positive about the performance of their firms over the next five years, a new report finds.

More than half (55%) of entrepreneurs expect to increase their turnover over the next year; with 44% hiring more people; and 40% expecting to raise investment.

The general public also remains positive about the future, with 57% of Brits agreeing that starting a business is a good career choice and over half (52%) agreeing that ‘entrepreneurs have a high status in society’, furthermore 50% of people would actively encourage their children to become an entrepreneur.

The report, ‘Let’s Do This! The state of UK entrepreneurship in 2020’, was commissioned by the Tata group and supported by the National Association of Colleges and University Entrepreneurs (NACUE), to shine a light on the optimism amongst peers in the sector, but also the wider public.

The ongoing uncertain political landscape has not dampened enthusiasm, with almost two-thirds (60%) of entrepreneurs believing that the UK remains a great place to start and run a business.

Moreover, 80% of young entrepreneurs said the experience of being an entrepreneur was better than expected. It’s estimated that one in four Brits are running at least one ‘side business’ alongside their day job, contributing an estimated £72bn to the UK economy – highlighting the importance of equipping young people with the skills they need to take the leap.

The journey starts at school, with the majority of young entrepreneurs (73%) agreeing the skills required to start and run a business can be taught, with many in favour of teaching entrepreneurship in schools from as young as nine.

Tim Jones CBE, Executive Director, Tata Limited:

“This report highlights the optimism of young entrepreneurs about the UK economy and their own business plans. It’s fantastic that people see becoming an entrepreneur as a viable career choice. We believe that it’s really important for the UK that we nurture our entrepreneurship culture and our entrepreneurs, including, for example, improving access to the right kind of skills training and making the pathways to business clearer for young entrepreneurs.

“At Tata, entrepreneurialism is part of our DNA. This is why we support the Tata Varsity Pitch competition powered by NACUE, a national early stage business pitching competition that celebrates the best businesses coming out of colleges and universities across the UK. We believe exposure to experiences like this that showcase entrepreneurship are vital in understanding and supporting this unique cohort.”

Timothy Barnes, chairman, NACUE Board of Trustees, said:

“Over the past two decades, start-ups and SMEs have been the only net creators of jobs in this country. It is our mission to power this enterprising generation.

“This research shows that entrepreneurship has become a credible career choice. It’s absolutely crucial we sow the seeds early on. Schools need to present entrepreneurship as a legitimate option and show that you can go out and create your own job, rather than waiting for someone to give you one.”

Lauren Bell, Founder, Cosi Care, and Tata Varsity Pitch 2019 winner, said:

I began my journey back in 2018, after spotting a gap in the market. My brother and I suffered from chronic eczema as children and so we’ve spent the last two years creating a product to ease the discomfort of the skin condition.

“I’ve always been motivated to be my own boss, have independence over money and control my work/life balance. Initiatives like the Tata Varsity Pitch allowed me to take steps to achieve this.

“It is really important to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs and help their businesses flourish and teach them the skills they need in school is a good place to start.”

National Association of College & University Entrepreneurs (NACUE) is the UK’s leading registered charity supporting the development of the next generation of entrepreneurs in colleges and universities. Formed over ten years ago, NACUE runs an annual programme of activity that includes the National Student Enterprise Conference and the Tata National Varsity Pitch competition. 

Working with student entrepreneurs and over 200 enterprise societies throughout the year, we are proud to have worked with over 30,000 young people as they look to understand what it takes to start a business and develop the skills needed to turn their dream into reality and become part of the Enterprise Generation.

Methodology: Survey conducted by One Poll between the 9th – 27th January 2020. Sample: 2000 UK adults (nationally representative) and 90 Young entrepreneurs (age 16-30, self-employed, 1+ employee)

Related Articles