The entrepreneurial revolution

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In the last decade, the UK has been hit by a wave of entrepreneurship. The Barclays Entrepreneurs’ Index finds that there continues to be a significant increase in the number of new businesses registered in the UK.

According to the index, in the first six months of 2014, almost 350,000 new business ventures had started up and an impressive 7.1% of 18-64 year olds were already running their own businesses.

These figures are a reflection of the country’s booming culture of entrepreneurship dating back to the industrial revolution where many well-known entrepreneurs such as Isambard Kingdom Brunel, helped revolutionise Britain and bring the world into a new age.

Nowadays, we are faced with similar serial entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson who make it abundantly clear that the innovative spirits of the 1800s have carried on well into the 21st century.

But what else is contributing to this entrepreneurial revolution?

Increase in funding options

We have seen a growth in the funding options available to entrepreneurs. Government-backed schemes and the willingness of bank to offer loans have helped with initial funding to test and develop new business ideas.

Meanwhile sources of investment have increased over the last decade. The general public can now contribute directly to ideas they believe in via donation-based crowd funding.

Sites such as Kickstarter support businesses by simply asking for contributions towards the cost of setting up. As well as its financial advantages, pitching a successful campaign can serve as a valuable form of marketing.

This more democratised method of raising cash helped budding entrepreneur Emilie Holmes successfully raise £14, 682 (against her £10,000 target) in 25 days, making her dream of selling Good and Proper Tea come true!  She now not only has her own tea business in the bag but Emilie also sells a selection of teas online.

For these reasons, many entrepreneurs are by-passing traditional forms of finance and turning to crowdfunding sites instead.

Enterprising culture

According to the Barclays Index almost 2.7 million people in the UK were made redundant between 2008 and 2012. This occupational recession drove many individuals to entrepreneurship and established a cultural shift that is now deeply imbedded in the country.

Entrepreneurial activity has no age restrictions. Many have been encouraged by the tough job market and the number of people in their 50s choosing to start up their own businesses and become older entrepreneurs has risen and is now “at its highest ever level” the index has found.

Barclays concluded that public and private organisations are also becoming more adaptive with this culture. It is becoming commonplace for such organisations to promote entrepreneurship as a career choice and “such resources have never been available to the extent we see today.”

Technology advances

Technology has redefined entrepreneurship itself. The general population now has access to inexpensive computing and treasure troves of information from the internet. This means new business owners can now operate effectively with affordable equipment such as smart phones and tablets.

Meanwhile the accessibility of online software tools and services permits entrepreneurs to fully exploit their capabilities whilst giving their new ventures great reach and scope.

As we enter deeper into the digital age, more entrepreneurs are embracing social media channels to communicate with their prospects and clients in real time so their businesses are growing faster than ever before.

It seems whatever your age or background the entrepreneurial bug is spreading and has no plans on slowing down anytime soon.

AAT Comment offers news and opinion on the world of business and finance from the Association of Accounting Technicians.

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