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Enterprising Youngsters Want To Be Their Own Boss
(13 October 2003)

Nearly half of the young people (15 - 19 years) in Britain would consider setting up their own business when they finish university, according to a new survey by NatWest Business Banking. What's more, a third of those considering it are proactively trying to improve their chances of success by studying with the specific intention of starting their own business.

Northerners and those in the south east are the most likely to be considering setting up a business whilst they are at school and are also the most proactive at studying to achieve their goal. Proven experience is a great motivating factor, as students with parents who have their own small business are more likely than the average 15 - 19 year olds to be studying to follow in their parents footsteps. They are also much more likely to be motivated by the prospect of making lots of money, possibly because their parents were successful in the small business sector.

More independence (42%), more money (36%) and a desire to be their own boss (23%) are the motivating factors behind youngsters wanting to start up their own business. A desire to make more money is most prevalent to those respondents in Greater London (58%), the north west (53%), and Wales (53%), whereas West Midlanders (50%) and the Scottish (49%) are most likely to venture into the world of small business for the independence it offers.

Lack of experience (36%), not being financially secure (22%) and a need for job security (14%) are the main reasons why young people would not go into business on their own, and 12% said that they thought it would be too much work. Surprisingly, only 1% felt that they wouldn't make enough money, showing that youngsters have a perception that they will make their millions by going it alone.

A quarter of young people did however recognise that starting up a business takes a lot of hard work and dedication and they expect to be working over 10 hours a day in the first few years of the business. Over a quarter of youngsters in the north west believe that they will have to work over 12 hours a day to make their business a success.

The future generation of business owners are also fairly conservative when it comes to estimating the amount of holidays they will take when they are running their own business, with 56% stating that they would take under 15 days holidays each year. Only 13% would take more than 20 days each year.

When the business was successful and making a profit, 33% of young people felt that they would reward themselves by having more flexible working hours, 26% would take more holiday and 25% would buy themselves a company car. People in Yorkshire and the south east were more likely to reward themselves with a bonus, whereas West Midlanders would take more holidays.

When asked which famous entrepreneur they aspire to be, 40% said that Richard Branson would make an excellent role model. Fashion and beauty entrepreneurs, Stella McCartney and Anita Roddick (Body Shop) also proved popular, especially with female respondents.

Peter Ibbetson, Head of NatWest Business Banking, said: "I am pleased to see that so many of Britain's young people would consider going into business for themselves and it is even better to see a third of respondents actively studying to achieve their goal of becoming their own boss.

"It is also clear that youngsters are realistic with their expectations. They know that they are going to have to work hard to get their business up and running, but recognise that the rewards of foregoing holidays and working long hours in the short term will pay off in the future."

Notes to editors:

  • The research was carried out by LVQ Children's Omnibus.
  • A representative sample of 661, 15 - 19 year olds, intending to go onto higher education were interviewed.

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