Young get set to go it alone

Martina Milburn of the Prince's Trust says the recession is making young people consider being their own boss asa way out of unemployment.
Martina Milburn of the Prince's Trust says the recession is making young people consider being their own boss asa way out of unemployment.
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More young people are planning to set up their own business empires in the wake of the economic crisis, new research suggests.

Problems finding work has led to an increasingly “entrepreneurial mood” among young people, the Prince’s Trust said.

The charity’s study of more than 1,600 people aged 16 to 30 found nearly a third (30 per cent) believed they would be self-employed in the future.

One in four (25 per cent) said they expected to be their own boss within the next five years.

Despite just five per cent of 16 to 30-year-olds in the UK currently being self-employed, more than a quarter (27 per cent) of those surveyed claimed they were “increasingly” thinking of setting up in business.

Meanwhile, more than one in four unemployed young people (27 per cent) said they would rather try to set up their own business than continue to seek work in today’s competitive job market, according to the study with the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).

Martina Milburn, chief executive of The Prince’s Trust, said: “This research reveals an increasingly entrepreneurial mood among young people.

“Five years on from the start of the recession, youth unemployment remains high and many are seeing self-employment as a way to break the cycle of joblessness.

“It is critical we nurture young people’s passion for business and invest in the next generation.”

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show there were 842,000 self-employed 18 to 34-year-olds from April to June last year, compared to 771,000 in April to June 2008 – a nine per cent increase.

The YouGov poll found 43 per cent of young people had already made money from entrepreneurial activity such as selling their own product or working on a freelance basis.

Professor Michael Hay, from London Business School, said: “Traditionally Britain has lagged behind other countries in terms of the number of young entrepreneurs, but today’s report suggests that young people’s attitudes are changing.”

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