Next generation of entrepreneurs ‘needs our help and support’

Study by Barclays Business Banking shows 34% of kids aged eight to 16 in the North West would like to run their own businesses in areas such as app development and video games. Tony McDonough reports

Children attending a Barclays Eagle Lab session last week


One-third of schoolchildren in Merseyside and the North West want to run their own business when they grow up, a new survey has found.

Contrary to the idea that most kids just want to be celebrities, the study by Barclays  Business Banking of those aged eight to 16 found many wanted to run enterprises in areas such as building apps and developing video games.

Barclays estimates that if if this entrepreneurial spirit is nurtured, by 2025 the UK could create a future generation of entrepreneurs.

This could equate to 100,000 new businesses that would contribute an extra £23.3bn to the UK economy and create 400,000 new jobs.

However, further analysis reveals that the proportion of UK start-ups run by entrepreneurs aged 25 and under in 2016 was just 6%.

This is lower than any other age category of start-up owners, demonstrating a critical gap between ambition and the number of start-ups run by young people.

More than half of the youngsters in the survey were aware that entrepreneurs had to be prepared to take risks and many also believed that luck and family connections could be crucial.

There was also confusion about the word ‘entrepreneur’ among 25% of the respondents with some confusing the terms for  a ‘French man’, a ‘magician’, or a ‘circus man’.

Barclays says if the ambitions of these young people aren’t nurtured then the  UK risks being left behind other countries.

Ian Rand, chief executive of Barclays Business Banking, said: “It’s no surprise that the UK has a generation of ambitious entrepreneurs waiting in the wings.

Young would-be entrepreneurs need all the help we can offer, says Barclays


“However, something is going wrong as this passion from the younger population is not translating into numbers of start-ups run by those aged 25 and under.

“If we want this talent and ambition to flourish, we all need to encourage children who should have access to the right tools and resources to convert their dreams into the businesses of the future.

“We’re calling on the rest of the industry and government to get behind the next generation of entrepreneurs.”

Barclays says it is making its own contribution to this through its LifeSkills programme which teaches 11-24 year olds vital skills needed in the world of business.

The bank runs events for younger children through its regional Eagle Labs network. And Eagle Lab has just been opened at Avenue HQ, a ‘collaborative’ working space in Liverpool’s Mann Island.

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