By Claire West

The UK needs to address an enterprise gap of ambition, demographics and skills if it is to kick-start the entrepreneurial decade our economy urgently needs - according to the organisers of a global entrepreneurial movement.

Global Entrepreneurship Week 2010


New research commissioned to mark the launch of Global Entrepreneurship Week finds that entrepreneurship in the UK suffers from:

AN AMBITION GAP - Over 50% of the population want to start a business but only 5.8% are in the actual process of starting a business. To put this into global context, the rate of those starting a business in the US is 8 percent, Brazil 15 percent and in China 19 percent.

A DEMOGRAPHIC GAP - An increase in self-employment rates of just 1% (fewer than 300,000 entrepreneurs), would boost the UK’s GDP by around 1.5% and add approximately £22bn to the UK economy.

A SKILLS GAP - Enterprise education doubles your chances of business success but despite the fact four million learners are going through further education each year, and many more through schools and colleges — enterprise is still not a staple of the education system

Additional research commissioned found that entrepreneurs are ready to find solutions to these challenges. A YouGov poll of 1,046 entrepreneurs across the UK shows that entrepreneurs believe that a new entrepreneurial culture will lead the UK’s economic recovery:

Key findings show:

SUPPORT - 77% want the government to play a key role in supporting entrepreneurs

RECOVERY - 79% agree that the UK’s entrepreneurs are responsible for securing a strong economic recovery

OPPORTUNITY — 65% agree there are good opportunities for businesses right now

Tom Bewick, CEO of Enterprise UK, the driving force behind Global Entrepreneurship Week in the UK said: “Entrepreneurship is vital at this time to secure Britain’s economic recovery and the week aims to promote and support the role of entrepreneurship within society. ”

Peter Jones, Chairman of Enterprise UK said: “It is no good encouraging people to start a business when they have no idea about how to go about it. To make the UK the leading entrepreneurial nation we need to back our entrepreneurs by investing in enterprise education and by celebrating the role that entrepreneurs play in creating a dynamic and growing economy”.

“This represents the first temperature check of entrepreneur opinion since the Prime Minister called on the ‘doers and grafters’ to support the nation’s economic recovery”

Taking place in over 100 countries with over 10 million participants worldwide, Global Entrepreneurship Week is the largest global movement of entrepreneurs and aims to inspire and support the nation’s budding entrepreneurial talent.

Throughout the week there will be over 4,000 events taking place across the UK celebrating and encouraging entrepreneurship.

The week kicks-off today (Monday) with a launch event at Google’s London HQ involving Vince Cable the Minister for Business and Enterprise Mark Prisk MP, Peter Jones CBE, Google UK CEO Matt Brittin, School for Startups founder Doug Richard and The Black Farmer, Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones.

The Prime Minister, David Cameron, said: “Global Entrepreneurship Week is a fantastic opportunity for us to inspire the innovators and entrepreneurs in our country.

“The future of our economy depends on a new generation of entrepreneurs coming up with ideas, resolving to make them a reality and having the vision to create wealth and jobs. But to make it happen we need a culture change in Britain — an injection of self-belief and dynamism to convince those who are dreaming about making it big to get out there and do.

“That’s why the government is doing everything possible to encourage entrepreneurs who are starting out — from simplifying taxes to providing access to mentors — and that’s why I wish Global Entrepreneurship Week every success.”