By Claire West

It has never been easier to start your own business — and the recession is the best time to do it.

That was the conclusion of a group of distinguished entrepreneurs gathered last night to celebrate Global Entrepreneurs Week in an event entitled ‘To Hell with the Recession’.

They heralded the ‘dawn of the age of the entrepreneur’, saying advances in new technology meant that there had been a major shift in power to small and medium sized businesses.

The round-table discussion was part of a global event organised by the Entrepreneurs Organisation, EO24, in which groups around the world held events to share and celebrate entrepreneurial wisdom.

James Layfield, one of in Growing Business Magazine’s ‘Top 30 Under 35 UK Entrepreneurs’, said that with technology advancing all the time — and with growing numbers of people taking the opportunity provided by redundancy to change their lifestyle, this is a golden time for entrepreneurship. He runs the business hubs Central Working, which have supported 100s of start-ups since their foundation in 2011.

“In our clubs in London, we’re seeing a real determination to succeed and to do it in a smart way. Hard times mean you have to think carefully about how you spend your money and you don’t have to start big: start smart is what we’re seeing a lot.

“The tools of creation are so ridiculously low cost that it is empowering a whole load of people who would never have been able to go into business to create a business that could change the world.”

Business strategist Deri Llewellyn-Davies said his client’s businesses were all growing and taking on staff, and that there was money available for investment — from banks, government schemes and angel investors.

He told the audience: “Be excited, don’t buy into the doom and gloom you’re hearing. To hell with the recession”

And angel investor Hugh Chappell added: “Now is a great time to start a business. There are opportunities to transform the way we do business in so many sectors and technology is going to be the driver of that change.”

The views of the entrepreneurs is supported by a recent EO survey, which found business owners in the UK are more confident about the future than in other key economies. More British business owners said they would be prepared to set up a business than those in the US, India, Japan and China.

The latest bi-annual Global Indicator Survey found that 84% of business owners in the UK would be prepared to start a new business, compared to just 59% in India, 68% in Japan, 79% in China, 83% in the USA, and a global average of 80%

This confidence is in marked contrast to the previous survey in which just 33% said they would set up a business. And is despite just 21% of those questioned in the UK believing its economy would improve in the next six months.

The Global Entrepreneur Indicator surveys members of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization worldwide to predict trends in areas such as job creation, profits and debt loads, economic forecasting and the overall business environment.

Overall it found that 74% of UK businesses expected both their profits and revenue to rise in the next six months, 63% experienced a rise in revenue over the past six months, and 53% had seen a rise in profits over the same period.