Posted: Mon 12th Aug 2019
51% of 14-25 year olds have thought about starting or have already set up their own business but a fear of failure and a lack of role models are issues holding them back, acording to a new report.
The study of of 1,549 young people by The Entrepreneurs Network and Octopus Group found that 68% said worries about things going wrong was a barrier to them making the leap into entrepreneurship, with females (71%) more scared of failure than males (63%).
Only two in five (38%) 14-25 year olds said their education has provided the skills they need to start a business and while the figure rose to 51% and 55% respectively for those currently at university or studying business, only 39% of graduates said the same suggesting that knowledge isn't transferring from the classroom to the real world.
Role models for young entrepreneurs
A lack of role models could also be problem, the study said, particularly for girls and young women.
More than half (57%) of young people could not name an entrepreneur who inspires them and of those who could, 8% said Lord Sugar, 6% picked Richard Branson, and 3% highlighted Elon Musk. Kylie Jenner was the most commonly named female entrepreneur by just 1% of respondents.
Of the entrepreneurs who were named, 85% were male and half of young men could name an inspirational business owner compared to a third of women.
The report highlighted the importance of role models, particularly those close to home. 68% of young people with a family member or friend who is a business owner said it has made them more likely to consider entrepreneurship in the future.
A desire to "be my own boss" (86%) and the "freedom to do what I want" (84%) were the top motivations for 14-25 year olds considering starting a business and the report said educators should use these drivers rather than a desire to get rich quick to inform the way they talk about entrepreneurship and work with organisations that bring successful entrepreneurs into schools to inspire children.
The study also called on the government to support schemes which provide young people with the opportunity to experiment with starting a company to build confidence, expand knowledge and reduce the fear of failure.
One such initiative is Enterprise Nation's Next Generation campaign, which, in partnership with Enterprise Trust and TSB, has provided free training to hundreds of budding young entrepreneurs aged 16-30 as well as funding through an awards scheme. The Next Generation programme is set to expand this autumn.
Sam Dumitriu, research director at The Entrepreneurs Network, said: "Over half of under 25s see entrepreneurship as a real option, but entrepreneurial intentions often don't lead to the creation of real businesses. Understanding the motivations, intentions, and barriers faced by young people is vital to widening the pool of entrepreneurial talent."
Simon Rogerson, CEO and co-founder of Octopus Group, added: "Starting a business is as much about your mindset as it is about the idea - and it can seem like a big leap of faith.
"That's why it's so important for young people to have access to mentors and relatable role models. They can make the impossible seem possible and help overcome that fear of failure."