David Saul, managing director of leading serviced office operator Business Environment discusses the importance of supporting start-ups and entrepreneurs.
An increasing number of entrepreneurs are preparing to start their own business, according to the recent Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, which showed that 20 per cent of the working age population plan to start their own firm in the near future.
Studies such as these are particularly interesting when they contradict the received wisdom. With so much speculation around the possibility of a triple-dip recession and talk of decreasing consumer confidence, surely any potential entrepreneur will think again before taking the plunge and setting up a new venture.
It may be that advances in technology, giving startups the chance to build a presence online without significant investor funding, is the cause of this surprising willingness to start new businesses. Alternatively, maybe people are pessimistic about their employment prospects in a depressed job market and have taken to creating their own work.
While this optimism among budding entrepreneurs is cause for cheer, I recently read a report claiming that more UK businesses were closing than starting and fewer than half of the businesses that launched in 2004 were still going by 2009.
All the evidence suggests more needs to be done to support start-ups – we need to reward the increasing number of brave entrepreneurs setting up new businesses.
It’s with this in mind that we recently launched our SMARTpreneur award, aiming to encourage entrepreneurs put their ideas into action and give them the boost they need to get off the ground.
As part of the award, Business Environment is offering entrepreneurs the chance to win one year’s desk space worth £4,000, along with call answering, mail handling and initial support from an accountant, lawyer and ‘Dragon’s Den’-style mentor. Additional marketing, branding and PR support will also help build the company’s personality and raise its profile with customers and the media.
We recognise that healthy businesses play a key role in building a strong economy, paying significant amounts in tax and creating employment opportunities. It’s crucial that the government and other organisations find ways to support start-ups. It would be good for the whole country if the increasing confidence reported among entrepreneurs was justified.
David Saul is Managing Director of Business Environment