Posted: Tue 12th Aug 2014
In April this year, shocked by the messages I was hearing from unions and think-tanks on the topic of self-employment, I called together the Entrepreneurs' Alliance which collectively represents 2.5 million small businesses and together we made the case for the self-employed.
Today, that case must be made again.
IPPR has issued a stunning report claiming the UK as the StartUp Capital of Western Europe and showing:
'The number of self-employed has grown by more than 1.5 million in the past 13 years to 4.5 million and now accounts for more than 15% of the labour force.'
Excellent! This is something to be cheered and celebrated.
And yet, certain economists and commentators state this positive increase in self-employment is on account of a weak labour market.
'People are starting businesses because they can't get jobs' say some. 'The self-employed are earning less than fellow employees' say others.
Today I say this:
Record numbers of people are choosing to start a business and figures from the Office for National Statistics show 'there has been no increase since 2012 in the number of people who have been self-employed for less than six months'' ie this is not a blip in the economy. People are making the positive decision to go self-employed and, reaping the benefits it brings, deciding to remain self-employed.
But no longer can I make this case without contributing facts of our own. Which is why this Friday Enterprise Nation launches the UK's largest Home Business Survey, in association with Direct Line for Business.
This Survey will ask:
Why did you get started in business?
What are the benefits of running a business from home, around the family?
What are your growth ambitions?
And much more
What I believe the results will show is millions of people turning their homes into a place of work. They do not need to earn the equivalent of an employee as they have no costs of commuting and the freedom and flexibility that comes from being your own boss is, in truth, worth millions. Small business owners calculate their wealth by turnover and also in quality of life. They are happier, healthier and wealthier than when they were employed - we have stats to show this - and will have more later this year.
Survey results will be released on 23rd October and I hope that, for once, we can all agree that the entrepreneurial self-starters; the self-employed, are the business heroes of the economic recovery.
Emma Jones is founder of Enterprise Nation