Group Of People

First came the TUC saying on BBC’s Newsnight people were only choosing self-employment as they couldn’t find a job.

Then came the Centre for Policy Studies with its claim that the self-employed should not be considered entrepreneurs as ‘they do not generally seek to shoulder the role of an entrepreneur, driving innovation, challenging the status quo and going for strong business growth.’

Now The Entrepreneurs' Alliance wants to set the record straight. We are making the case for the self-employed.

The case is this:

  • People are choosing to start a business – it is not because they can’t find a job. They don’t want a job! Over half a million people took the step to start their own business in 2013; a UK record which looks likely to be beaten this year. Figures from ONS show three quarters of the increase in employment over the past quarter came from people employing themselves. A phrase often heard at StartUp events across the UK is ‘I’ve been made redundant and I’m delighted. This is the kick I needed to become my own boss.’
  • Over 70% of new businesses are started from home. In doing so, business owners are educating the next generation of entrepreneurs, spending more time and money in their local economy, and self-policing daytime neighbourhoods. They are generating wealth, without being a burden on the public purse. They are collaborating with fellow freelancers and professionals to grow the business through outsourcing and subcontracting, as opposed to hiring staff. This is, quite simply, the most entrepreneurial way to start and grow.
  • The self-employed are spotting gaps in the market, starting niche businesses, embracing technology and Going Global at speed to cater to a rising international demand for British made and designed products. They are driving growth in the UK economy and sharing innovation with big business, as seen in the rise of accelerators and labs from brands such as John Lewis, Tesco, Telefonica and Cisco who want to leverage the entrepreneurial spirit and bright ideas from the self-employed StartUps of Britain.
  • The self-employed are 99% happier than when they worked for someone else*. They are leaving the workplace to take control of their lives – and in search of more satisfying and creative work. 

We plan to continue celebrating the millions of self-employed who are starting businesses and benefiting from the flexible and financial benefits this brings.

For the significant contribution you are making to economy and society, we salute you.

The Entrepreneurs’ Alliance

Entrepreneur Alliance Top Row

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*Enterprise Nation Happiness and Health Survey, February 2014

Have your say

Jo Hepworth
Jo Hepworth

I'd be interested to know how many of those who put down self employment use local taxis, window cleaners, plumbers, gardeners, greengrocers, butchers, child-minders - the list is endless. Most of these people are self employed, as are a large proportion of doctors, dentists, solicitors ... They are the glue that holds society together!

Gina T Frost
Gina T Frost

We found ourselves without enough teaching hours to carry on teaching.
Moving into self employment was the 'no choice' factor after finding we couldn't even get a job at the local co op. With our qualifications and experience, that's somewhat disheartening.

We're in our 3rd year of self employment (we meaning me and my husband) and it's been enjoyable in many ways and a struggle in other ways but I expect that's the norm for business start ups.

What concerns me is that 'ageism' is clearly still an issue yet the 50 something is being encouraged to carry on working until they are 68. This is in my case anyway. I'll health has started to take its toll and I'm only 56. So that means another 12 years struggling with ill health.

Maybe the hope is that I'll be dead before I collect my pension.

Gina T Frost
Gina T Frost

We found ourselves without enough teaching hours to carry on teaching.
Moving into self employment was the 'no choice' factor after finding we couldn't even get a job at the local co op. With our qualifications and experience, that's somewhat disheartening.

We're in our 3rd year of self employment (we meaning me and my husband) and it's been enjoyable in many ways and a struggle in other ways but I expect that's the norm for business start ups.

What concerns me is that 'ageism' is clearly still an issue yet the 50 something is being encouraged to carry on working until they are 68. This is in my case anyway. I'll health has started to take its toll and I'm only 56. So that means another 12 years struggling with ill health.

Maybe the hope is that I'll be dead before I collect my pension.

Michael Eyre
Michael Eyre

I consider myself an entrepreneur, I started my own Green Screen Special Effects Workshop company for schools & Businesses in September 2013 and never looked back, it's hard work and business is slow in taking off, but very lucrative, I finsihed working for a comapny of 12 years and well paid full time job to look after our 2 year old little girl and never claimed any benefits, always thinking of ideas for companies, I starting an I.T media company in 2012 but couldnt get a good work life balance as our daughter was newborn and so spent a year or so being a full time dad and growing my new company idea, I took the plunge in September 2013 and got a lot of interest in the education sector, my main core of business is education and marketing to this sector is proving very difficult but I really enjoy being my own boss. I dont think that I am self employed because I cant get a job because I havnt looked for one, that would be my last resort if i couldnt get a successful compoany to work.

Rob O'Neill
Rob O'Neill

I'm an accountant that deals with many, many new 'self-employed' start-ups.
It is my experience that most people go self-employed because they can't find anything else, and in some cases they will cease self-employment as soon as someone offers them a permanent job.

As for the comment that people go self-employed because 'they don't want a job' somewhat underestimates just how much effort is needed to be successful in your own business.

Steph Savill
Steph Savill

There is a school of thought that some women run part time 'little jobs' to fit in around their children. That's patronising, offensive and often VERY wrong. Sadly it isn't just men who think this - many career women belittle their business sisters here. I'd like to think that women didn't criticise each other (there's a place in hell etc says Madeleine Albright) and were more supportive of all. Vive self employment and those that describe themselves as entrepreneurs - the real meaning of the word (in my dictionary at least) is 'those who undertake things together' after all...

Vernon Fuller
Vernon Fuller

I appreciate this article. I chose voluntary redundancy three and a half years ago. I enjoyed my job and the organisation that I worked for, but times were tight, so I took the opportunity to be self-employed and so far so good. Food for thought article in my humble opinion.

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