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Brexit uncertainty fails to dampen UK would-be entrepreneurs' start-up ambitions

The entrepreneurial spirit is particularly strong among the younger generations. Of those aged between 18 and 24, 76 per cent said that they are keen to start their own business

Josie Cox
Business Editor
Wednesday 22 February 2017 13:02 GMT
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Of those questioned 47 per cent said that the overriding motivation for starting their own business was ‘freedom and independence’ – or not having to work for someone else
Of those questioned 47 per cent said that the overriding motivation for starting their own business was ‘freedom and independence’ – or not having to work for someone else (Getty)

Uncertainty around Brexit may not be dampening the UK’s entrepreneurial spirit just yet.

Despite concerns that a split from the EU could chip away at the UK’s investment appeal and its position as one of the region’s leading business hubs, a survey of around 1,500 Brits over the age of 18 shows that 44 per cent still consider it the best country in which to start a business, discounting concerns that the UK is about to suffer a brain-drain.

Conducted by private equity firm Idinvest Partners, which is a major investor in small- and medium-sized enterprises and currently manages around €7bn worth of assets, the survey shows that over half of those questioned are keen to start their own business and 16 per cent say that they already have concrete plans to do so at some point in the next year.

That entrepreneurial spirit is particularly strong among the younger generations: of those aged between 18 and 24, 76 per cent said that they are keen to start their own business, compared to 48 per cent in the 50 to 64 range.

“While some future entrepreneurs will be considering their options in light of Brexit, the majority continue to see themselves as future business owners and start-up founders,” Christophe Bavière, the chief executive, and Benoist Grossmann, a managing partner at Idinvest, said in a joint statement.

Alex Saint, the co-founder and chief executive of Secret Escapes, a cut-price luxury travel company that Idinvest has helped fund, said that “the British entrepreneurial climate is as hot as ever”.

“We're a nation of creative thinkers who value hard work, ambition and aren't too keen on having a boss,” he added.

In fact, of those questioned 47 per cent said that the overriding motivation for starting their own business was ‘freedom and independence’ – or not having to work for someone else.

But there do seem to be reasons for caution.

Close to two-thirds, or 59 per cent, of those questioned said that they are pessimistic about the outlook for inflation, and those considering launching their own venture also said that they had concerns in relation to the regulatory environment in the light of Brexit, and consumer sentiment.

Last year, the Boston Consulting Group warned that in the wake of Brexit, up to 80,000 banking and finance jobs could be moved from London to other centres in Europe in a job exodus worse than during all the years of the financial crisis.

According to a report published earlier this month by LinkedIn, and based on the data from more than 3 million people, the number of university-educated international professionals seeking jobs in the UK is also already being knocked by Brexit concerns.

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