Time to talk up Britain's entrepreneurs

Time to talk up Britain’s entrepreneurs ime to talk up Britain’s entrepreneurs

Simply Business dissapointed in “odd-jobbers” report

The UK is in the midst of an unemployment crisis. Official figures released today suggest that 8.5 per cent of the population is out of work – the highest proportion for a decade and a half. The number of people underemployed or precariously employed is even higher. At such a pivotal moment in our country’s economic history, we need clear thinking and positive action. That’s why Simply Business was disappointed to read yesterday’s report on self-employment from the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development.

According to the CIPD the recent surge in self-employment is down not to the spirit of enterprise, or to the perpetual ingenuity of British entrepreneurs – but rather to desperation. The Institute referred to the self-employed as “part-time ‘odd-jobbers’”, suggesting that the 300,000 new entrepreneurs who have struck out on their own in the last three years have only done so as a stopover on their route back into employment.

At Simply Business we have found quite the opposite. Every day we encounter driven, innovative business owners, often in the very first stages of self-employment but always with their eyes set firmly on the future.

The ingenuity of the self-employed workforce is endless. Our own research found a 12 per cent increase in women-owned businesses during 2011, with many female entrepreneurs identifying cutting-edge lifestyle trends around which to build successful ventures. This isn’t an ‘odd-job army’ – it’s a large and growing group of highly motivated individuals choosing to forge their own paths.

The scale of the challenge facing the UK cannot be over-estimated. Dark economic clouds are gathering once again – but it is agile, innovative small businesses, run by enterprising entrepreneurs, who will drive the country back towards sustainable growth. We should be supporting the self-employed, not talking them down.