Could 2021 see thousands of Gen Z start-ups?


Date: 26 January 2021

A young woman works on her start up business plan

A new survey has found that one in seven Brits aged 18-24 plan to start their own business this year.

The poll of over 2,000 British adults, carried out by Yonder on behalf of Mushroombiz, shows that 15% of young people (aged 18-24) in the UK plan to start their own business in 2021.

The researchers report that school and university graduates are rejecting the job market to take back control of their futures from COVID. If young people carry out their plans, there could be as many as 800,000 new Gen Z businesses getting off the ground this year. Between 2018 and 2019, 390,000 businesses were started in the UK across all age groups.

According to Ed Surman, managing director of Mushroombiz, the results show that "young people leaving school and university are rejecting the shrinking job market to take back control of their futures from COVID-19".

The OBR estimates that the UK unemployment rate will peak at 7.5% in the middle of 2021 - representing about 2.6 million people out of work - up from about 4% before the pandemic struck.

According to Surman, "This reality has forced many young people to re-evaluate their futures and become their own boss". He says the poll backs up what he has seen: "a huge uptick in the number of tech start-ups, passion projects and side hustles started in university dorm rooms in the latter half of 2020."

The number of new companies being created in the UK compared with 2019 soared in the second half of 2020, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). July 2020 set a new record with more than 81,000 businesses registered in the UK.

The new poll also revealed that 13% of Brits would start their own business if they had more spare time, while 20% would become their own boss if they had more money. Notably, the findings show that across all age groups twice as many men (9%) as women (4%) plan to start their own business this year, while over one-fifth of Londoners (21%) plan to become their own boss in 2021.

The news comes despite of underlying concerns for the UK economy, with the poll revealing the majority of Brits (57%) are not confident in the country's economic prospects for 2021, with 45% not confident in it over the next five years.

Written by Rachel Miller.