28/09/09

By Claire West

Only 1 in 10 people aged 16 to 24 years old who consider starting a business actually do.

This comes in a year when entrepreneurial talent is more important than ever as many students are finding it difficult to start out in their chosen careers. Business Link wants to help budding entrepreneurs become "Generation Success" by making them aware that starting your own business is possible - offering support with initial business planning and providing guidance through all the different stages of the business lifecycle.

With increasing competition for university places, coupled with a tough job market, it is essential for young people to think creatively about the range of opportunities available to them. The findings from a recent survey by Make Your Mark, the national campaign to increase entrepreneurial behaviour in young people (May 2009), showed that 5% of those sampled have started their own business - yet a massive 51% have considered, but not attempted to set up their own business.

Imran Hakim, serial entrepreneur, Make Your Mark ambassador and founder of iTeddy from BBC2's Dragon's Den, understands the importance of encouraging and supporting young entrepreneurs. He started his first business when he was just 15 with a £2,000 loan from his father:

"You are almost never too young to start a business. Richard Branson, Alan Sugar and numerous others all started young. Now more than ever our economy needs young entrepreneurs to succeed and to drive us out of the recession. We need to support them by giving them guidance and other resources to help transform their ideas into success stories. You have to be confident and well informed. For years we have been debating the best career paths post 18 but now more than ever it is essential to think laterally when deciding what to do after school."

Business Link adviser Gareth Sear agrees:

"Starting a new business can seem daunting, particularly when you're young, but research shows that a business that uses professional external advice is more likely to succeed - and this is where Business Link can help. It is especially important for young entrepreneurs to know that Business Link will be there for them throughout - from developing and exploiting their initial ideas, to helping identify the challenges such as understanding rules and the regulatory landscape, researching different business structure options, assessing market readiness and developing a business plan. Business Link can also direct young entrepreneurs to organisations that provide support and finance specifically to the under 30s."

A great place to begin is the Business Start Up Organiser, which is available on the website at www.businesslink.gov.uk/startingupyoung.

Budding entrepreneurs who want to know if starting a business is right for them should phone the helpline number on 0845 600 900 6 or visit www.businesslink.gov.uk.