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Friday, 21 June 2013

Friday Guest Blog: Is this the last generation of young entrepreneurs we will see?

By Neil Brabbs - EMEA Sales Manager, Arc Window Films Ltd

From start-up, to winning clients, through to the day to day running of a business – becoming an entrepreneur is a lifestyle choice made by hundreds of thousands of determined individuals every year. However, with the incentives diminishing and the barriers to start-up increasing at an alarming rate, could this be the last generation of young entrepreneurs we will see?

With every generation it is becoming increasingly difficult for young entrepreneurs to emerge and start their first business. The current recession and lack of finance is certainly a challenge, but it is not the biggest concern for the future. The recession will end, and along with it the uncertainty and inherent barriers to funding. However the unfortunate reality is that the incentives are simply not perceived to be enough by the youth of today, and the barriers to starting and running a business seem to be increasing at an alarming rate.

A key trend which could hinder the emergence of new young entrepreneurs is the increasing delay between the initial start-up and the receipt of any financial reward. The torrent of red tape and paperwork required in business has not only increased the time investment required by entrepreneurs, it has also lengthened the time before they can actually work on (and receive any return for) their core business efforts. 

Even when a completely unique and new concept is ventured, the harsh reality is that it is much easier for an existing large business to cope with the bureaucracy required to emulate the venture. In today's world a first mover advantage is becoming shorter and shorter, and any returns that are quick are also usually short lived.

After the initial start-up period the burdens to growth and expansion seem to be increasing too. The challenges of Business Rates (a tax on requiring premises), Employers PAYE (a tax on job creation), and H&S (a paperwork overload for SMEs) are well documented, and are frequently touted as a burden to businesses new and old. The worrying trend is that new challenges continue to emerge, with RTI the latest burden for SMEs and start-ups. Admittedly these challenges are faced by both new and existing businesses, but for an entrepreneur considering a new venture they could be serious deterrents to starting.

Thankfully there are those who are simply destined to be entrepreneurs and will strive to succeed regardless of the challenges put in front of them. As trends change and new products and services emerge, the attraction of the self-employed world will always be naturally alluring to such individuals. During a recession the cost of stock, premises and advertising plummet, and the lack of available jobs acts as further motivation for some to pursue their own ventures.

Support networks and entrepreneur focused communities such as Shell Livewire, Blue Orchid and the GM Chamber continue to support, develop and inspire the upcoming entrepreneurs – knowing that our future economic growth is in their hands.

The government may not consider the long term effects of the ever increasing difficulty of business start-up, but with the support mentioned above entrepreneurs no longer have to face these challenges alone. With new problems come new solutions – and the recession and other challenges will never be a match for a talented and driven entrepreneur.

Is this the last generation of young entrepreneurs we will see? I seriously doubt it.

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