Almost half a million businesses have been set up in the UK so far this year. That proves there is a huge amount of entrepreneurial spirit in this country. I was delighted to mark Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) with the announcement of the 10,000th loan awarded by the government-funded Start-Up Loans, of which I am chairman.
We've lent £51million to entrepreneurs in under 18 months, ensuring people who are passionate about business can play their part in reviving the economy and creating jobs.
But GEW has also reminded me why I want to challenge Britons to do even better. For every person who begins their own startup, many others nurture similar unrealised ambitions.
In fact, half the population would like to start their own business but less than 5% actually do.
Going it alone was a natural choice for me.
My father created his own fashion firm in London's East End after leaving Pakistan and I first experienced the business buzz when selling his leather jackets in the playground.
I'm not suggesting everyone who longs to escape an office job should resign and establish a startup. But if you dream of doing so, ask yourself:
1. Do you have the passion, resilience, flexibility and focus required?
2. What is your unique selling point?
I hope many of those attending the thousands of GEW events in the UK will tick these boxes and come away confident of turning their idea into reality.
Sometimes we only see the potential stresses of running a startup and overlook the enormous thrill it offers - a feeling I still get when investing in early stage businesses.
Equally, the lifting of Start-Up Loans' 18-30 age cap means now is an ideal time for anyone to apply.
With the UK's economic upturn, optimism is in rich supply among entrepreneurs - YBI found 30 per cent expect to start another business in the next year.
It's never too late to start your first business. If you are passionate about an idea perhaps you should ask yourself: why not now?
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