Press release

More than a third of Brits thinking about launching a business in 2024

More than a third of Brits thinking about launching a business in 2024
Enterprise Nation
Enterprise Nation
Enterprise Nation

Posted: Mon 8th Jan 2024

The number of people thinking about starting a business in 2024 has risen to 35 per cent, an increase of 5 per cent on 2023.

The annual Start Up Ambition Report, now in its third year, from small business support platform and membership community Enterprise Nation as part of the StartUp UK programme with Monzo Business, found that figure rises to more than half (54%) amongst young adults aged between 18 and 24 -- a rise of six per cent on last year. That age group alone equates to more than two million individuals with entrepreneurial ambition.

Another 23 per cent of Brits said 2024 was not the year, but still expected to start a business in the future as part of a long career path, with seven per cent 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 per cent to 40 per cent in 2024. Another 25 per cent 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' or making money out of a skill or hobby (62%).

The majority (56%) said they would start as a side hustle.

Interestingly only two per cent said they felt compelled to launch a business because they had lost their job, with another two per cent 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 five per cent 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."

Enterprise Nation's annual StartUp Show sees 2,000 people line-up to learn the basics of starting a business in London on January 27, 2024. The epic show, now in its tenth year, is backed by leading brands, including Monzo Business, Google, TikTok, GS1 UK, Vodafone Business, Hiscox, and Square.

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 per cent 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 two per cent 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 per cent on last year. But interestingly that's a broadly constant picture with 66 per cent of 18 to 24s, 65 per cent of 31 to 40-year-olds and 59 per cent 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 per cent said they were not aware of any. When prompted, 36% said they felt Start Up Loans would be relevant for them, and 21 per cent said they would value a scheme like Help to Grow: Management, but only 10 per cent said the UK Shared Prosperity Fund sounded useful.


Notes to editors

About the research

An online survey was conducted by independent market research agency Walr, among 1,012 adults aged 18+ in the UK. The research fieldwork took place between 5th -- 12th December 2023. Walr is a member organisation of the Market Research Society and abides by all codes of practice.

About Enterprise Nation

Enterprise Nation is a business support platform and membership community delivering support to more than 800,000 small businesses every year. Its aim is to help people turn their good ideas into great businesses -- through expert advice, events, acceleration support and networking.

Enterprise Nation was founded in 2005 by British entrepreneur Emma Jones CBE, also co-founder of national enterprise campaign StartUp Britain. She is the author of several best-selling business books.

Enterprise Nation
Enterprise Nation
Enterprise Nation
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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