Coronavirus crisis drives rise in entrepreneurship

Coronavirus crisis drives rise in entrepreneurship
Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events

Posted: Fri 1st May 2020

More than one in 10 British adults are considering starting a business to deal with the impact of COVID-19, new research reveals.

The poll of 2,000 people by start-up competition The Pitch found 11% want to launch their own venture because of the pandemic.

Two fifths said their entrepreneurial spirit was driven by a desire to give back to society, but the most popular reason was that it's a way to earn extra money during challenging times, cited by 47% of respondents.

Another 16% said setting up a new business was their only option to cope financially and 21% said being at home has given them time to launch an idea they've already thought about.

History shows many people start businesses during economic crises. After the 2008 recession, the number of new firms incorporated in the UK grew by 11% to 365,600 in 2009.

Of those responding to The Pitch survey, 16% have started to plan, while 11% have spoken to a financial adviser and 11% have contacted potential customers. Another 10% have registered a company.

In terms of location, the number of people that want to start a company because of the crisis is highest in London followed by Sheffield and Newcastle.

The crisis has made 18% of C-level executives and 16% of senior managers think about starting up, compared to 11% of entry-level staff and 9% of middle management.

The search for the UK's best start-ups

The Pitch, which was launched in 2008, helps start-ups create a brilliant pitch and gives them the platform to use it.

In response to the increased interest in starting up and the need for support, every applicant can access free one-on-one advice sessions covering subjects including marketing and cashflow.

Applications open today for people with ideas and entrepreneurs who have been trading for up to three years. Successful entrants will get to attend one of five free business boot camps to find the UK's most exciting new start-ups before The Pitch Final in November.

Enterprise Nation is a partner of the initiative.

Chris Goodfellow, founder of Box 2 Media, which runs The Pitch, said: "We know business is tougher than ever right now. We also know that amazing, world-changing businesses will be built during the crisis.

"Every year, we see The Pitch finalists trying to solve some of the biggest challenges we face, from mental health to tackling food waste. There's no doubt the UK's entrepreneurs are going to step up in the wake of the coronavirus crisis too."

Several of the judges for the contest started their businesses during recessions and went on to build hugely successful companies. One of them is Luke Lang, who co-founded equity crowdfunding platform Crowdcube in 2009.

"I'm a strong believer that difficult economic times are a breeding ground for innovation; it's no coincidence to me that the likes of Funding Circle, Crowdcube and Ratesetter emerged from the banking crisis," he said.

"Britain has a proud history of innovation, enterprise and entrepreneurship and it's vital we continue to support our startup community, who will be crucial in helping our economy emerge from this crisis."

Want to tell the world about your idea? The Pitch helps entrepreneurs create a kick-ass pitch and give them the platform to use it. Apply now to get access to free support.

Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events
I'm a freelance content creator and event host who helps small businesses and the organisations that support them. I have 18 years of experience as a small business journalist having interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs from billionaires like Sir Richard Branson to the founders behind brand new start-ups. I've worked for a range of leading small business publications and support groups, most recently as head of content at Enterprise Nation where I was responsible for the prolific output of content on the company's blog and social media. I'm based in Bristol where I run and host regular events with the local small business community and have strong connections to major business organisations in the south west region. In total, I've hosted over 50 events; from intimate meet-ups to conferences with an audience of hundreds including events for international brands like Facebook and Xero. I'm also a big fan of podcasts having hosted Enterprise Nation's Small Business Sessions as well as lots of online events including Facebook Live interviews, webinars and three live web chats from inside 10 Downing Street. With my partner, I co-run Lifestyle District, a lifestyle blog focused on culture, art, theatre and photography. I'm here to help. I'm volunteering free advice calls of up to an hour as part of the Recovery Advice for Business scheme, over the next 6 months. Please get in touch to see how I can help your business. 

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