You know things are starting to look up with the economy when debate turns to possible interest rate rises. With recent unemployment and GDP figures suggesting the long-awaited upturn may well be here, it was with great pleasure that we were able to announce, at the launch of Global Entrepreneurship Week 2013, that entrepreneurs agree a new era is afoot.
New Youth Business International (YBI) and Kauffmann Foundation research, released to mark the launch of the Barclays-supported Week, predicted a positive outlook for small business growth across a range of different measures. Almost all UK entrepreneurs (90%) anticipate an overall increase in revenue by 2016, with half expecting their revenue to increase by 30% or more in that time period. When compared with other countries, the revenue predictions of start ups in the UK are more positive than the global average, but the positive trend does extend to many entrepreneurs in YBI's global network countries too - for example Australia, Barbados and Canada all forecast similar levels of growth to the UK.
With increased revenue comes job creation - more than three quarters of UK start ups said they thought they'd be employing up to 20 people three years after starting up (76%). Other types of expansion are also on the cards, with 53% of first-time business owners planning to branch out and start a second business within the next year. 30% of those who already run more than one business also forecasted new ventures.
It's encouraging to know that there is now an increasingly bright light at the end of the tunnel for UK entrepreneurship. Thinking back to the Global Entrepreneurship Week research released this time last year, the current picture is much more reassuring. In 2012, more than two thirds of entrepreneurs felt the economic situation had stagnated or worsened and more than a third admitted they were considering giving up their business and returning to employment as a result of their experiences during the recession. What a difference a year makes.
The atmosphere at the launch event embodied the research findings. Entrepreneurs at a wide range of different stages of their start up journeys gathered to share their advice on how they took a step forward with their own businesses and soak up the knowledge of others. Very well-established serial entrepreneurs like former Pizza Express boss Luke Johnson swapped experiences with newer, but already global, sensations like Paul and Rob Forkan of Gandys Flipflops. In a small business showcase, Congolese-born, Tina Lobondi an international fashion designer whose creations are made of fabrics sourced from all around the world, displayed her made-to-order designs alongside, Louise Chambers, who runs her fledgling confectionery business whilst bringing up her three children, the youngest of which is just three months old.
Events like this are a reminder of how special and important initiatives like Global Entrepreneurship Week are. Starting up a business isn't easy, but it is vital to a rejuvenating and competitive economy that people are inspired to take the plunge and equipped with the support, skills and knowledge needed to make a success of their business idea. For those that have already started up, whether they are still early-stage start ups or more established small businesses on their way to becoming medium-sized enterprises, the Week offers opportunities to learn about growth strategies. Regardless of the size of your business, it's a way to give something back to the enterprise community, there is nothing more invaluable to an aspiring entrepreneur than being able to pick the brains of someone who has been in their shoes in the past who has flourished or failed, whether through formal mentoring or a casual chat at a networking event.
That's the other thing about Global Entrepreneurship Week - there's something in it for everyone. It's not too late to get involved this year - visit www.gew.org.uk for a comprehensive guide to the 3,000 events taking place across the country between now and 24 November and be one of the 300,000 people taking part.