Fifth of young people aim to set up social enterprise

Fifth of young people aim to set up social enterprise

Young people are showing an increasing appetite not only to start their own business but also to establish a social enterprise, according to research by RBS and UnLtd, the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs.

Young people have increasing appetite to start their own business and establish a social enterprise

The quarterly Enterprise Tracker survey of 2,439 people adults in May 2013 found  that while 38% of the UK adult population want to start their own business or enterprise, 53% of young people aged 18 to 30 years hold the same aspiration.

Budding young entrepreneurs are also more likely to consider supporting social causes that they are passionate about - 70% compared to 63% of all adults - and 22% aim to set up a social enterprise. This is a business which uses some of its profits or business methods for the good of society or the environment.

However, the survey also reveals that while young people increasingly see that ‘now’ is a good time to start their enterprise, they are more likely to perceive barriers to starting up and have a greater fear of failure.

Cliff Prior, chief executive, UnLtd said: “This survey shows that the way in which budding entrepreneurs are thinking about business is profoundly different to widely held assumptions, signaling a change from ‘business as usual’.

“The enthusiasm amongst young people is particularly encouraging in the current economic climate - but it’s also clear that we must keep giving young people the support, confidence and resilience they need to make their enterprise ideas a reality.”

Thom Kenrick, Head of Sustainability Programmes for RBS Group, added: “We have been tracking trends in youth enterprise for a year now, and these findings show a move towards more interest in Social Enterprise, which has to be encouraging for our communities and our economy.”

The research indicates that would-be social entrepreneurs of any age show a high level of conviction for starting up with nearly half (46%) saying they are hoping to start their project within the next five years – higher that those who want to start traditional businesses. It also found that people looking to start a social enterprise have a very clear social focus with 85% saying they would set up an enterprise to address a social problem they personally feel passionate about.

In terms of looking for support to set up a new business/enterprise, the survey finds that whilst most people would go to a bank for help, 31% of those looking to start a social enterprise would go to ‘individual investors interested in social benefits as well as financial returns’.

The November 2012 survey found that 14% of all adults aiming to start their own businesses and 15% of budding young entrepreneurs planned to start social enterprises. However the findings of the two surveys cannot be compared directly as the wording was changed slightly to clarify the definition of “social enterprise”.

More information on RBS’ work on Inspiring Enterprise.


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