By David Saul, managing director of Business Environment

It was recently Global Entrepreneurship Week, which is a yearly initiative taking place in more than 30 countries to encourage more people to set up businesses.

By all accounts, the week was a success in the UK, with events taking place across the country. However, the Independent reported on research released at the end of the week that showed people in the UK don’t encourage innovation and, on average, don’t consider being an entrepreneur a respectable career.

Despite this, the Independent notes that people in the UK are positive about policies that encourage entrepreneurialism and questions why there is seeming contradiction between word and deed - people recognise the importance of entrepreneurialism but won’t start-up their own businesses and don’t think well of the people that do.

A few theories are put forward about why this might be the case, ranging from the traditional British reluctance to discuss financial success to the fact that there aren’t enough successful entrepreneurs to emulate, and that popular culture portrayals of entrepreneurs rarely deviate from Del Boy wheeler-dealer types.

Our nation’s educational structures also come in for criticism - the article claims that university and exam success is focused on at the expense of other routes, such as entrepreneurial endeavour.
What the article doesn’t take into account, however, are signs that entrepreneurialism is being pursued, particularly among the young, as an Experian study published at the end of last year found.

This report showed that the relentless focus on university at the expense of other paths hadn’t done anything to prevent the number of young entrepreneurs increasing by a quarter. It wasn’t all good news however, since fewer than a third of their businesses were found to have survived more than three years.

This perhaps lends some weight to the wider point raised in the Independent article - more needs to be done to support entrepreneurs and to create a culture that respects entrepreneurialism.

As the MD of a serviced office operator, this has always been something I’ve been keen to address and I’ve spent a long time speaking to small business owners about the role our company could play in supporting their success.

We recognised that many start-ups faced a Catch-22 in which they were being asked to pay rates they could only ever afford once they get their business of the ground, which they struggle to do without professional offices and meeting rooms.

This led to the creation of our tailored start-ups packages, which allow businesses to take up office space without paying a deposit or rent for the first month.

We’re also aiming our virtual office service at start-ups. This provides businesses with a front of house reception team and business address, without the risk of buying physical space. Our switchboard answers calls using our clients’ business name, before putting the call through, giving the impression that they are a larger company, which can prove crucial for gaining contracts and client confidence.

With the contribution entrepreneurs make in tax and employment opportunities, small business can prove the backbone of the economy. Ending the negative perceptions of entrepreneurialism highlighted by the Independent and doing more to support small business owners can benefit the entire country.

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