Students want to go it alone

Oct 21 2003 by Brian Amble Print This Article

Nearly half of the young people (15 – 19 years) in Britain would consider setting up their own business when they finish university, according to a new survey.

What’s more, a third of those considering it are proactively trying to improve their chances of success by studying with the specific intention of starting their own business.

Positive role models such as Virgin boss Richard Branson, fashion designer Stella McCartney and Body Shop founder Anita Roddick have played a key role in stoking the fires of entrepreneurial ambition, according to the survey by NatWest Business Banking.

More independence, more money and a desire to be their own boss are the motivating factors behind youngsters wanting to start up their own business.

Youngsters in London and the South were more likely to cite the money-making aspect of running a firm as the biggest incentive for starting up, while those in the West Midlands and Scotland are most likely to venture into the world of small business for the independence it offers.

Lack of experience, not being financially secure and a need for job security are the main reasons why young people would not go into business on their own. Only just over one in ten thought it would be too much work. Surprisingly, only one per cent felt that they wouldn’t make enough money, showing that youngsters have a perception that they could make their fortunes by going it alone.

A quarter of young people did however recognise that starting up a business takes a lot of hard work and dedication and they expect to be working over 10 hours a day in the first few years of the business.

When the business was successful and making a profit, a third of young people felt that they would reward themselves by having more flexible working hours, while a quarter would take more holiday and buy themselves a company car.

Peter Ibbetson, head of Natwest Business Banking, said that he was pleased to see that so many of Britain’s young people would consider going into business for themselves.

“It is also clear that youngsters are realistic with their expectations. They know that they are going to have to work hard to get their business up and running, but recognise that the rewards of foregoing holidays and working long hours in the short term will pay off in the future,” he said.