Counties to the south of London least enthusiastic about entrepreneurialism

With the exponential growth in self-employment and new business start-ups in the UK throughout the last half dozen years, Britain has gained a place within the top five of the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Index (GEI).

The GEI, which measures the entrepreneurial ecosystems of 130 countries worldwide, is widely viewed as the most accurate barometer of human capital and innovation in any given country. However, a new survey by the UK's leading online freelance marketplace, PeoplePerHour, has revealed that although the spirit of free enterprise is very much alive in Britain, it is largely rooted in the north of England.

The survey, which garnered the views of 1026 respondents, discovered that the people in the north of the UK had a much more positive attitude to entrepreneurship than those living south of London, with the people of Liverpool, Manchester and London looking at self-employment with the most favourable eye. 46 per cent, 45 per cent and 42 per cent of respondents from the respective cities 'strongly agreed' that entrepreneurship was an important contribution to the economy.

UK Map (PD)

There could be some correlation with the formation of these views and the level of redundancy experienced during the recession, however Glasgow suffered the effects of the Global Economic Downturn strongly, yet Glaswegians were least likely to agree with that statement.

Perhaps the most telling opinions when it comes to entrepreneurialism are not those relating to ourselves, but those pertaining to our children. The PeoplePerHour survey also revealed that even in areas where entrepreneurship was viewed favourably, only 11 per cent of parents said that they would actively encourage their children to take that path, with 7 per cent saying that they would actively discourage it.

The reasons given for the ambivalent attitude were that entrepreneurship is viewed as coming with three major lifestyle headaches:

• Unreliable cash flow

• Lack of pension

• The stress of having full responsibility and no safety net

However, those headaches were viewed as being off-set by freedom and flexibility, for those who exhibited an aptitude. Interestingly, respondents recognised the same qualities required for making a success of entrepreneurship. When asked what the most important factor in entrepreneurial success respondents answered:

• Self-belief (32%)

• Money or funding (31%)

• Passion (19%)

• Good Connections (10%)

Just 8% of respondents thought education was the most important factor, a belief perhaps borne out by successful celebrities known for their business acumen and relatively minor educational achievements, such as Pete Waterman and Sir Alan Sugar.

PeoplePerHour Founder & CEO Xenios Thrasyvoulou comments:

'There's no denying that self-employment and entrepreneurship in the UK has reached new heights in the last few years, but it's interesting to see that the wider population don't necessarily view it as a stable career choice.

'Our research has shown that the vast majority of people who have started working for themselves would find it inconceivable to return to the PAYE system, but it's clear that taking that step is still something that is viewed as engendering risk. Not everyone could happily embrace that risk.

'Despite this, our most recent survey has shown that 62 per cent of people believe that there has been a shift in views when it comes to the UK workforce, and that the recent peak in entrepreneurship is not just a bubble, but rather here to stay. From my work with PeoplePerHour, this is a view that I have to share.'

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