Now is the best time to be an entrepreneur in the UK according Lord Young, the Prime Minister's former Enterprise Advisor and honorary chairman of Small Business Saturday.
Over four years in his advisory role, Lord Young published several reports reviewing the government’s relationships with small firms.
Having been invloved with small business for a long while, he states in the latest report (published in February 2015):
‘I found, when I returned to government, that the public sector was just as closed to small firms as it was back in the 80s and I’m delighted that as a result of a great deal of work amongst a large number of people the public sector is being opened up to small firms.’
Claiming that now is ‘the golden age for small firms' the latest report also stated that there are currently a record number of small firms in the UK; the figure standing at approximately 5.2 million, a solid increase of 760,000 since 2010.
It also showed ‘a record number of people in work’ (the figure stood at 30.8 million in February) and that small firms now account for ‘48% of private sector employment’.
These postive figures are backed by the fact that the Global Entrepreneurship and Development Institute rank the UK the most entrepreneurial country in Europe and 4th in the world.
Young's links with small firms have informed his position as honorary chairman of Small Business Saturday - an annual event celebrating small businesses (held on the 5th of December), which has become a runaway success with millions of consumers 'shopping small' across the country.
Last year alone 16.5 million people supported their local businesses and the event has raised awareness over its short lifespan with 64% of the UK aware of the campaign.
On Thursday, at the launch of Small Business Saturday’s third yearly campaign, Lord Young stated that ‘there are far fewer challenges’ than there was in the past.
‘You can start a business with £5,000 and a mentor. The challenge is you have got to have an idea and focus on it. The whole of business success can be summed up in three words – ‘focus’, and ‘follow through’ he told the Guardian.
Lord Young says that the aim is to raise the profile of small businesses,
'The world has changed so much in the last few years – over three quarters of firms in this country don’t employ anybody. Wherever you look the world is changing to people working for themselves or in small groups, and the great thing about Small Business Saturday is it appeals very much to retail businesses.’
‘I have worked for big companies, I ran one of the top 10 FTSE companies, but the most exciting thing in my life was when I went off and started to work for myself’.
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