On the rise: More than a third of Brits are thinking about starting a business in 2024

On the rise: More than a third of Brits are thinking about starting a business in 2024

Posted: Mon 8th Jan 2024

The number of people thinking about starting a business in 2024 has risen to 35%, an increase of 5% on 2023, new Enterprise Nation research reveals.

The annual StartUp Ambition Report, now in its third year as part of Enterprise Nation's StartUp UK programme with Monzo Business, found that the figure rises to more than half (54%) amongst young adults aged between 18 and 24, a rise of 6% on last year. That age group alone equates to more than two million individuals with entrepreneurial ambition.

Another 23% of Brits said 2024 was not the year, but still expected to start a business in the future, with 7% saying they already had a business.

With the cost-of-living crisis causing financial difficulties and job insecurity for many, the research found those starting-up to supplement their full and part-time income had risen from 33% to 40% in 2024. Another 25% said they were worried about earning enough to pay housing costs and energy bills.

But despite this, the main driver to start is still 'fulfilling a dream to become their own boss' (24%) or making money out of a skill or hobby (38%).

Interestingly only 2% said they felt compelled to launch a business because they had lost their job, with another 2% saying they were starting-up because of job insecurity in 2024.

The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) is seen both as a challenge for being employed and an opportunity for entrepreneurship. The research found 5% said AI had opened up business ideas and opportunities, while four per cent said they were worried it would replace their job.

The most popular sector to start-up in 2024 was arts and crafts (18%), food and drink (12%) and business and support services like virtual assistants or marketing (8%). For younger entrepreneurs, the top sector was fashion (13%) or creative and media like graphic design (12%).

A quarter of those over 50 said they wanted to start an arts and crafts business, suggesting a career-changing move for this age group.

Emma Jones, CBE, founder of Enterprise Nation, said:

"Starting a business is now an established part of people's long term career aspirations. While wages stagnate and bills continue to rise, people are taking their financial futures into their own hands.

"This is a trend that will only continue on an upwards trajectory as access to technology, business support, awareness of the benefits of entrepreneurship and fresh opportunities increases year-on-year.

"People are side hustling, they're self-funding their business idea by holding down a day job, or sometimes even jobs.

"It's our mission to ensure start-up and ongoing business advice is made available to everyone that needs it in 2024 and beyond.

"A booming pipeline of fresh new businesses supports future economic growth, increases innovation and adds a healthy helping of representative diversity to the UK's small business community. We're ready to support them to develop the skills they need to thrive."

Side hustle v full time turnover

The report found the average turnover expectation for those starting a side hustle was £5,352 in the first year. But women's remuneration expectations were 22% lower than those of their male counterparts.

Turnover expectations for female-founders of full-time businesses in the first year were a staggering £10,000 lower than firms founded by men. Male founders expected to bring in £35,106 in the first year of a full-time business, compared to £25,213 for women.

Regional ambition

Nottingham saw the highest number of people saying they were motivated to start a business to supplement part time work or zero hours contracts (14%), compared to 2% in Bristol. Self-starters in Wales were most likely to say they were starting a business because they were worried their job could be replaced by AI (10%) followed by Manchester (8%).

More than half (69%) of younger adults aged 25 to 30 said they would start as a side hustle, an increase of 14% on last year. But interestingly that's a broadly constant picture with 66% of 18 to 24s, 65% of 31 to 40-year-olds and 59% of 41 to 50-year-olds who would start alongside jobs or caring responsibilities.

Start-up support

Asked if they knew about any government start-up support, a resounding 75% said they were not aware of any. When prompted, 36% said they felt Start Up Loans would be relevant for them, and 21% said they would value a scheme like Help to Grow: Management, but only 10% said the UK Shared Prosperity Fund sounded useful.

Enterprise Nation's annual StartUp Show takes place in London on 27 January and will see 2,000 people learn how to start and grow a business. Book your ticket

Make 2024 your year at StartUp Show: Book your tickets now

StartUp Ambition 2024Enterprise Nation StartUp Ambition 2024

Enterprise Nation has helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder, Emma Jones CBE, Enterprise Nation connects you to the resources and expertise to help you succeed.

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