July 16, 2024


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85% of UK Workers Want to Start their Own Business


  • Almost one in five of these workers (18%) plan to start their business in 2022
  • Millennials are the most likely to want to start their own business
  • Existing UK business founders are concerned about the current business environment and are shifting their priorities to focus on profitability

LONDON, July 7, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — UK workers want to start their own business, become their own boss, and believe a ‘side hustle’ is the first step, according to a new study by Oracle NetSuite and The Founding Network, a global community of the most innovative, high-growth SME leaders. The study of more than 2,000 UK workers and business founders revealed that UK workers are ready to go out on their own, while UK business founders are shifting priorities and learning new skills. Crucially, both current and future founders recognise the critical role technology will play in their success.

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UK workers want to be their own boss
UK workers are ready to start their own business this year and many are already taking what they believe is the first step by working a side hustle.

  • 85 percent of UK workers want to start their own business; 18 percent of these plan to do so by the end of 2022, and 62 percent plan to do so in the next two years.
  • More millennials want to start their own business than people in any other individual generation, with 40 percent of UK workers that plan to start a business being 25-34 years old.
  • 25 percent of UK workers believe a side hustle is the first step to setting up their own business, 35 percent already have a side hustle, and 47 percent are considering embarking on one.
  • The top three reasons UK workers want to start their own business are to become their own boss (54 percent), gain more control over their lives (44 percent), and become wealthier (35 percent).
  • Current economic conditions are stalling the plans of some future entrepreneurs, with 31 percent stating they don’t want to start a business now due to rising inflation, and 23 percent delaying due to a possible recession.

UK business founders are shifting priorities and learning new skills
Growing interest in starting a business comes at a time when existing UK business founders are worried about economic challenges and finding out that starting a business is more challenging than they initially expected.

  • UK business founders are concerned about the current business environment, with rising inflation (88 percent), a possible recession (83 percent), geopolitical events (67 percent), and supply chain disruption (66 percent) the top worries.
  • To address these challenges, founders noted that they have shifted their 2022 priorities and are focused on improving profitability (45 percent), increasing revenue (41 percent), and managing costs (30 percent).
  • In addition to adapting to a difficult business environment, 79 percent of UK business founders admitted that starting a business is more challenging than they initially expected.

  • To be successful, 91 percent of UK business founders said they have had to develop new skills since starting their own business. The top three skills business founders have had to learn are customer relations (56 percent), marketing and communications (49 percent), and financial and accounting practices (45 percent).

Current and future UK business founders know technology is the key to success
Cloud technology is helping founders navigate a changing economic environment and grow their businesses.

  • 64 percent of UK business founders say technology is essential for running their business and 98 percent of future founders believe technology will play a key role in the success of their business.
  • UK business founders are using cloud technology to navigate economic challenges and overcome skill gaps, and 87 percent of founders using cloud technologies are seeing the benefits.
  • 75 percent of UK business founders using cloud computing said they grew their business in 2021. The top three benefits they attribute to cloud computing were being able to run their business remotely (38 percent), connecting data for an accurate view of the business (27 percent), and conducting accurate financial reporting (25 percent).
  • In addition, UK business founders using cloud technologies believe they can effectively grow their go-to-market channels (63 percent) and expand internationally (58 percent).

Supporting Quotes:

“It’s inspiring that the culture of entrepreneurism that the UK is famed for is alive and well. Many workers are taking definitive steps towards starting a new venture, but as current business founders report, the economic climate at the moment is challenging,” said Nicky Tozer, EMEA Senior Vice President at Oracle NetSuite. “The results of our study clearly show that most UK business leaders using cloud technology said they are better placed to adapt, be more productive and efficient, and carve out new opportunities. We also found that the next generation of UK business founders understands the critical role technology will play in their success.”

“With so many people making the transition from corporate roles to life as an entrepreneur, all ‘workers’ could be viewed as potential founders,” said James Sutcliffe, Founder, The Founding Network. “This is more evident than ever before, with the rise of side hustles – a clear sign of both entrepreneurial spirit and growing confidence amongst the younger generations. However, despite the optimism, many founders find that starting a business is more challenging than they expect. A key issue the founders in our community face is gaining visibility over their entire business operations to deliver on their vision and goals. Those who master this are the ones who will go on to have the greatest success.”

Learn more about the new research findings – State of Entrepreneurship Report: How Founders Are Adapting and Succeeding.

Research findings are based on a survey conducted by Vitreous World between April 14April 22, 2022 with 2,005 adults aged 18 years and above who work in the UK (502 business founders and 1,503 employees). All employees work a minimum of 20 hours per week. All business founders work at organisations with fewer than 250 employees, with 77 percent of workers employed by SMBs and 23 percent in large businesses. The survey explored the attitudes and behaviours of SMB business founders and general UK workers towards the appetite for starting their own business and the challenges and opportunities this presents.

About Oracle NetSuite
For more than 20 years, Oracle NetSuite has helped organisations grow, scale and adapt to change. NetSuite provides an integrated system that includes financials / Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), inventory management, HR, professional services automation and omnichannel commerce, used by more than 31,000 customers in 217 countries and dependent territories.

Learn more at https://www.netsuite.co.uk. Like us on Facebook, and follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.

About The Founding Network
The Founding Network’s passion is helping high growth founders scale as efficiently as possible. We understand founders can’t be an expert in everything which is why we’ve created a community that is. By inviting 1000+ of the most innovative SMEs across the UK, New York and Berlin and partnering with the world’s leading brands, we ensure these leaders are connecting with the very best to reach their full growth potential.

Oracle, Java, and MySQL are registered trademarks of Oracle Corporation.

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