As the number of new companies created in the UK continues to increase, we're seeing businesses start-up based on a passion, hobby or skill, that can be turned into a way of making a living.
Over 60% of these businesses are started from a home base and, in the early days, many of the owners are 'Working 5 to 9' which is the term I apply for holding onto the day job and building a business at night and weekends.
These businesses tend to be one man or woman bands. They are micro enterprises but there's nothing small about their level of ambition. Embracing technology, these sole traders and small limited companies are testing new markets through pop-ups, going global at speed, and becoming known on the web and beyond through clever PR and adoption of social media.
These are the businesses I meet every day and, for the past year or so, I've wondered why they don't have a greater voice in government or a membership to represent their views and offer tools and support to help them start and grow.
After wondering for a while, Enterprise Nation launched a survey which asked people for their views on business membership groups, and received over 1,200 replies.
The consensus was business groups simply aren't working for today's modern business. While 64% of respondents were put off joining membership bodies because they felt they're too expensive, 40% said they couldn't see the benefits of membership to their business - and 18% said they felt existing bodies didn't represent their kind of business.
This is something we have decided to address and this week saw the launch of a new and modern business membership extending deals and offers from top brands, free eBooks, profile on the website, a sense of community and, critically, a voice to government for the micro-enterprises who are powering today's economy and delivering social benefit too.
With traditional membership bodies deemed as too expensive, ours is just £20 a year. The response has been positive and the first issue we'll be championing in government is ways to increase cross-border e-commerce with the EU as part of a Cabinet Office Taskforce. Issues to follow include ensuring the full contribution of small business trading activity is included in official statistics and exploring childcare vouchers for the self-employed.
As any good business, the membership will evolve to serve the needs of its community but at least we've made a start. http://www.enterprisenation.com/club