By Daniel Hunter

New research released today (Monday) by Youth Business International (YBI) and the Kauffman Foundation has found that half of UK entrepreneurs (50%) expect their revenue to increase by 30% or more by 2016, with 90% of UK entrepreneurs predicting an overall increase in their revenue.

The Entrepreneurial Environment report from YBI, which examined the views of over 150 UK entrepreneurs on the future of UK enterprise, coincides with the launch of Global Entrepreneurship Week 2013, hosted by YBI in partnership with Barclays.

The research revealed that UK entrepreneurs are forecasting new ventures as well - 30% of small business owners expect to start a further business within the next 12 months, and this figure increases to over half for first-time business owners (53%). The positivity extends to jobs creation as more than three quarters of business owners predict they will be employing up to 20 people three years after starting up (76%).

This year’s research paints a much brighter picture for UK entrepreneurship compared to figures revealed in previous YBI reports — in 2012, more than two thirds of the small business owners asked said the situation for UK entrepreneurs had stagnated or worsened over the previous two years (70%) and more than a third of the 2012 sample (34%) admitted they had considered giving up their business and returning to employment as a result of their experiences during the recession.

The new research was released at the Global Entrepreneurship Week 2013 launch event at Westminster Kingsway College, London. The event, which featured Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, and former Pizza Express entrepreneur, Luke Johnson, was the first of 3,000 events, involving approximately 300,000 people across the UK. The Week, hosted by YBI in partnership with Barclays, aims to encourage aspiring entrepreneurs, young and old, to ‘take a step forward’ towards start up success. Global Entrepreneurship Week happens simultaneously in over 130 countries across the world, involving over 7.5 million people.

Andrew Devenport, Chief Executive of Youth Business International, comments on the findings:
“It’s encouraging to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel for UK entrepreneurship, with one in two business owners expecting their revenue to rocket in the next few years, higher than the overall global average. And this trend extends to the experiences we have seen across our global network too, with Australia, Barbados and Canada all predicting success and growth to a similar degree**. Global Entrepreneurship Week is the perfect time to make the most of this renewed enthusiasm. It engages entrepreneurs from all walks of life to swap experiences, build their networks and replicate successful business models”.

When asked about the support available for entrepreneurs to establish businesses, UK entrepreneurs are more positive than negative about:
Access to finance (43% agree finance can be accessed on reasonable terms compared to 31%)
Skills availability (45% agree they can readily hire workers with the right skills and abilities compared to 39% who disagree)
Access to support such as business advice and mentoring (69% are happy with this compared to 22% who are not).

This confidence extends to the wider entrepreneurial landscape — nearly twice as many UK entrepreneurs believe the current economic conditions are conducive to growth (57% compared to 30% who disagree) and over half believe there is currently a high regard for entrepreneurship in the UK (55% compared to 28% who disagree).

Despite this positivity, the research exposes a critical gap between the support offered within the early stages of development and the practical infrastructure required to grow a business. 40% of entrepreneurs think they can’t access essential resources, such as energy, transport networks and communications services, at a reasonable cost (compared to 36% who think they can) and exporting continues to be a prominent obstacle to UK small business owners. Less than a quarter currently export (23%) and, of particular concern given the Government’s current efforts to encourage UK exports, is that nearly half of respondents are not exporting as they don’t think they can, don’t know how or haven’t considered it (45%).

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