A fifth of adults are 'hidden entrepreneurs' - RBS survey

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A fifth of adults are 'hidden entrepreneurs' - RBS survey

One in five UK adults use their spare time to grow a new business or earn extra income - making them Britain’s ‘hidden entrepreneurs’.

Liggy Morgan launched her cake business with support from The Prince's Trust and RBS

The findings, revealed today by the latest RBS Enterprise Tracker, carried out in association with UnLtd, the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs, shows that two-fifths of adults have a hobby or pastime that could or does provide them with a second income. Of those, nearly half treat their hobby as a way of earning extra income or hope it will develop into a full-time business.

These ‘hidden entrepreneurs’ – 20% of UK adults – are spread evenly across all regions of the country.

Ambition gap

The survey, which interviewed 3,789 people during November 2013 on their attitudes towards starting up their own business or social enterprise, also reveals a large ‘ambition gap’ between people who say they want to start a formal business or enterprise (38%) and 6% who actually do.

Some are put off by perceived practical barriers – such as the state of the economy (41%) and where to find the cash (41%), while others lack confidence: Half (49%) assume they lack the skills for the job. Only 12% of people are put off because they couldn’t see a market opportunity.

Cliff Prior, chief executive of UnLtd, said: “These figures tell us that people want to create businesses out of their hobbies, passions and interests – which is where many social entrepreneurs start – but don't feel they have the support or confidence to do so. As a nation, we need to get far better at nurturing our entrepreneurial talent and normalising entrepreneurship as a career path from an early age. At UnLtd we know that trying entrepreneurship can give vital life skills for the future.”

Liggy’s cakes

Elizabeth Morgan, otherwise known as Liggy, is a largely self-taught baker who started her firm, Liggy’s cakes, from her parents’ kitchen in 2007.

Today Morgan has two cake shops in Edinburgh and Glasgow that are classed as cake boutiques, a team of four dedicated bakers and cake decorators and is a preferred supplier for a number of Scottish high-end historical wedding venues and hotels such as Hotel du Vin. She plans to open further shops in other Scottish cities over the next few years.

Morgan established her business with a  £1,000 The Prince's Trust Youth Business Scotland loan, provided through the charity’s partnership with RBS, a Business Gateway Grant of £1,000 and £1,000 of her own investment.

The Prince’s Trust has also provided mentoring and funding to help her set up her second shop.

“You need initial funding to get started - I used mine to set up a website (liggyscakes.co.uk). Then later on, typically six months although it was longer for me, you need more funding to take your business to the next level,” says Morgan.

She has also been supported with advice by her RBS business relationship manager Janice Cunningham. “I’ve not applied for any funding directly from RBS yet, but plan to for the launch of my third shop. Janice knows the business, which makes that process easier,” said Morgan.

Inspiring Enterprise

RBS Inspiring Enterprise aims to encourage more people in more communities to explore enterprise, build their skills and, ultimately, to start up and succeed in business.

Thom Kenrick, Head of Sustainability Programmes at RBS, said: “This research shows there is untapped potential right across Britain of people who could be successful in business given the right help.

“The aim of RBS Inspiring Enterprise is to provide support, both to these budding entrepreneurs directly and to the organisations mentoring and funding them, to ensure they have the confidence and ability to realise their potential.”

More information about how RBS Inspiring Enterprise can help you or the organisations that are supporting you.

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