THE BLOG
25/11/2013 17:12 GMT | Updated 25/01/2014 05:59 GMT

Record-Breaking Year for Encouraging Enterprise

One week, 3,200 events and over 300,000 participants. It's been a record-breaking Global Entrepreneurship Week 2013 for the UK, with more people taking part in activities than ever before in the 10-year history of a week dedicated to enterprise in the country. From the Premier League Enterprise Challenge launch, which will see 6,000 young people submit business plans for growing the fanbases of Premier League clubs overseas, to Google hangouts with Sir Richard Branson and Pinterest founder Ben Silbermann, and everything in between, it's been a pleasure for Youth Business International (YBI) to host the Week in the UK, with support from Barclays, for the third year running.

While the UK's Week has been bigger and better than ever, with an unprecedented level of engagement, these numbers will be dwarfed by the global total once the figures have been crunched. Global Entrepreneurship Week takes place simultaneously in more than 130 countries worldwide, with YBI hosting it in 11 including the UK. Last year it involved 7.5 million people and this year participation levels are predicted to be even higher this year. That's a huge amount of entrepreneurial potential being harnessed, inspired and unleashed.

It's fitting then, that along with Shell LiveWIRE and Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, we were able to devote a bit of the Week to capturing a global snapshot of young entrepreneurial potential, attitudes and ambitions.

The resulting study, Unlocking Ambitions, Creating Growth, revealed that countries like Singapore and China are leading the way when it comes to converting potential young entrepreneurs into business owners. They are almost twice as successful at converting than countries traditionally associated with being very entrepreneurial, like the UK and USA.

In terms of creating businesses with high-growth potential, young UK entrepreneurs appear more likely than those in other countries to hit what we've termed a 'growth glass ceiling' within three years of starting up. They do lead the way when it comes to creating businesses employing between six and 19 employees, which is a great achievement. Bu they lag well behind countries like China, Germany, the USA and the Netherlands when we looked at those able to employ 20 people or more.

The figures present a clear case for continuing growth, investment and support for entrepreneurs in the UK, through campaigns such as Global Entrepreneurship Week. For example, we found that nearly one in five 18-34 year olds believe they have the skills to start a business and have a potential opportunity in mind, but fewer than 4% go on to create a company that makes a profit.

People often ask me if I think one Week can really make that much difference and I have no doubt in my mind that this one does. Take Ruben as an example. He was studying design but his real passion was to set up a baking business. There was nothing he didn't know about making cakes and he was hugely enthusiastic, but was much less sure about the practicalities of running a business. While he knew it was an option, he had no idea how to take a step forward - thankfully helping people do just this is at the heart of Global Entrepreneurship Week. He attended an event during the 2011 Week where he was introduced to a business adviser and less than a year later BakeyRubs was taking orders.

We're now eagerly awaiting the results of this year's evaluation - if you attended an event as part of the Week and haven't yet had your say you can do so here. Let's hope for many more tales just like Rubens.