In today's uncertain economic climate, aspiring entrepreneurs would be forgiven for thinking that it is too risky and too complicated to start up their own business.
Yet, as Global Entrepreneurship Week takes place, it is clear that this is not necessarily the case - and in fact now could be the perfect time to consider setting up.
To mark the start of the Week, which is supported by Barclays, Youth Business International interviewed 100 existing entrepreneurs to find out what they thought of the opportunities for people who are currently thinking of starting up their own business.
This research shows a surprising amount of optimism, despite the economic gloom, and that the recession is even creating opportunities. Indeed, almost half of UK entrepreneurs (48%) predict that the environment for them will improve in the next two years, and more than a third (35%) rate the current operating environment for their businesses as good or very good. When asked about the next five years, three quarters (74%) expect to see the number of businesses being set up to increase.
When asked where the main opportunities for UK start ups will lie between now and 2017, entrepreneurs identify local and regional markets (25%) and global markets (17%) as having the best prospects. That almost two in five cite global opportunities as being of importance reflects our own experiences of helping entrepreneurs set up in more than 30 countries. In our view, there is much potential for growth when start-ups make global connections - be it to establish trading partnerships, replicate successful business models or to swap shared experiences.
Other potential for growth, according to our entrepreneurs will come from an increased ability to access funding from multiple sources or collaboratively, the opportunities presented by online technology, and economic recovery. Entrepreneurs also highlighted the need to develop social media, digital and IT skills, as well as their abilities in financial management and marketing as important for future growth.
What's more, it's clear that successful entrepreneurs view what they do as setting a valuable example for young people. Half of our respondents (48%) already believe that starting a business is already a more viable career choice for young people than entering the traditional jobs market - rising to 70% looking ahead five years.
So, good news amongst the gloom. The key now is making sure that this optimism translates into business growth, and that future entrepreneurs - both young and old - are given the support they need to take the plunge. Through the 3,000 events taking place in Global Entrepreneurship Week in the UK, we're hoping to be part of that process - and hope that, when next year's Week comes around, the picture for UK enterprise will be an even better one.
Follow Andrew Devenport on Twitter: www.twitter.com/youthbizint