Entrepreneurship is on the wane, says survey

Apparently it's down to declining media coverage. Even Bannatyne can't negotiate out of this one...

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Back at the beginning of the noughties when former Dragon and Yo! Sushi founder Simon Woodroffe said ‘business is the new rock’n’roll’, he wasn’t far wrong – but just as all stars inevitably fade, it seems entrepreneurship has had its heyday. New figures out today have indicated the UK’s entrepreneurial aspirations are on the wane, with just 3.8% of the population planning to start up in the next three years, compared with 5.9% in 2004. Could it be something to do with the recession, or merely an unfortunate effect of Dave showing Dragons’ Den repeats ad infinitum? Difficult to tell…

One of the most telling figures in the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor was the decline in the number of people who see starting a business as a viable career choice. About a quarter of people who don’t already run businesses said starting up sounds like a good opportunity, compared with a third in 2006 and 2007. That seems to give a pretty clear indication that the recession has taken its toll on the nation’s more risk-averse would-be entrepreneurs, at least.

Another pretty worrying figure is the gap between the number of women and men who are, as the GEM puts it, ‘involved in entrepreneurial activity. Just 3.7% of women are running their own business, compared to 7.8% of men. Given the fact that women still take on the lion’s share of childcare duties, it’s not a particularly surprising figure in itself – until you compare it to the early-stage side of entrepreneurship, where the gap is much narrower. So that means while women are starting businesses, they’re finding it tougher to get them properly established. Not particularly encouraging.

According to the survey, ‘perceived media coverage’ of well-known entrepreneurs declined between 2007 and 2009, which could go some way to explaining why starting a business isn’t as popular as it once was. Although at the risk of more Apprentice spin-offs being commissioned, MT might hesitate to agree entirely. Junior Apprentice was quite enough, thank you very much.  

That said, it could be wrong: another survey from electronic payments company PayPoint.net landed in our inbox this morning, which said that that ‘one in two Briton’ (sic) is a frustrated entrepreneur. Apparently, 64% of office workers believe running their own business would be more fulfilling than their current job – and, surprisingly enough, a third said they’d like to start an online business. Vested interest, anyone?

In today's bulletin:

Dodgy brochure costs Goldman's $550m
BP manages to plug leak as US finds a new reason to vilify it
Edukashun is in a pickle
Entrepreneurship is on the wane, says survey
O'Leary eats humble pie as he apologises to Sir Stelios

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime