Nearly four in ten Brits want to start their own business – but are scared to go it alone

Nearly four in ten adults want to start their own business – but are too scared to go it alone, research has found. A poll of 2,000 adults found 49 percent of these love the idea of being their own boss, with 45 percent becoming more determined to start their own business since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, while 63 percent have a business idea they think could work well, they are lacking support and know-how to take it to the next level.

More than a third (36 percent) are being held back by of a fear of failure, while 35 percent are short on confidence to launch their enterprise.

But despite these apprehensions, one in three have either started putting plans in place, or are looking to get underway within the next 12 months.

The research was commissioned to mark the Santander X UK Awards, which gives innovative, early-stage start-ups the chance to secure up to £25,000 in equity-free funding, as well as business support and opportunities to network with other entrepreneurs.

Mike Regnier, CEO for the bank, said: “It is clear that many people want to embark on an entrepreneurship journey, but are intimidated by the prospect of setting up a business on their own.

“We are committed to supporting entrepreneurship and the vital role it plays in driving growth and productivity.

“The awards offer the most innovative and disruptive early-stage start-ups in the UK the opportunity to network, learn from experts, and potentially win up funding to help their businesses achieve success.

“I look forward to judging what I know will be another excellent set of pitches from some of the UK’s most promising new business people.”

The study also revealed the business skills those wanting to go it alone most want to develop, including negotiating (23 percent), and financial literacy (23 percent).

One in five (21 percent) believe they need to enhance their leadership qualities, and 20 percent want to become more strategic thinkers.

But to accomplish their professional developments, 44 percent consider business training and education as an important step on their entrepreneurial journey.

Meanwhile, 43 percent stated access to financing will be the most helpful resource to kick starting their venture – and to secure this, 57 percent back their ability to pitch for funding.

The research, conducted via, also revealed 71 percent of adults admire the tenacious spirit of entrepreneurs – with Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Alan Sugar, and Deborah Meaden at the top of the list.

It also emerged 61 percent believe entrepreneurship is open to everyone, regardless of their background – and 69 percent think all successful businesses start with a simple idea.

This year, Sam Jones, the founder of Gener8 – a browser that helps people turn online data into rewards, and which secured funding on Dragons Den with what has been branded the show’s “best ever pitch” – is one of the Santander X UK Awards judges.

Finalists in the awards this year include start-ups like Snowball Community, an app which supports the disabled community; Persium, which has created a world-first digital twin platform for tackling air pollution; and Scaled, a nature-inspired flexible body armour for sports performance enhancement.

Sam said: “It’s brilliant to see so many aspiring entrepreneurs taking part and pitching in this competition. This competition is about so much more than securing the cash – it’s about equipping entrepreneurs with the resources, knowledge, and network to set themselves up for success.

“Pitching in an environment like this is challenging. The entrepreneurs must craft a compelling narrative that captivates investors, and aligns their vision with yours.”


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